Garrett Anderson

gwave.jpgGarrett Anderson, a singer/ songwriter from College Park, Maryland, has spent the past few years working with a variety of projects – his own bands LUCA and Rung, as well as backing folk-rocker Greg Riordan – but he will soon take the plunge into the world as a solo artist with the release of debut album, Portraits of the Young Man as an Artist

For Anderson after years of working in a band, his new album presents him with the chance to step out on his on and explore a side of his songwriting that is sometimes overlooked.

Anderson will celebrate his new album with a release show at the 8×10 in Baltimore January 24th.  While Portraits is a wholly solo effort, Anderson has recruited a backing band of local musicians to give life to his new project on stage.

Anderson took some time while preparing for his release show to talk with Honest Tune about all that and more. 

Honest Tune: Why a solo album now? 

Garrett Anderson: I think the move to put out an independent solo album was just overdue.  I have always picked up an acoustic guitar and hummed along to myself.  The bands I have been playing in really lean towards that riff-rock kind of stuff which I really enjoy.  But I also really enjoy songwriting and I felt I needed to compose and put down some tunes where the lyrics take precedent.  I take a lot of inspiration from Martin Sexton and Ryan Adams, dudes that can really just make a tune expand whether with a backing band or when they play solo.   

HT:  Is this a permanent move? 

GA: By no means.  This is a representation of some tunes I wrote.  It’s an outlet I really enjoy exploring and will do again.  I am going to play some solo shows to promote this album, but I draw a lot of joy from playing with other guys too.  So it is not something I am going to give up to pursue this solo thing. 

HT:  You like to work both sides of your brain. 

GA:  Exactly.  Lay down some riff rocks one night and then do some singer/ songwriter stuff the next. 

HT:  Has the album come out the way you envisioned it?  Anything you want to change after having a chance to listen to it again? 

GA:  Well, I am not an audio engineer by any stretch of the imagination so there are things I hear with a critical ear on the production side – a hiss here, a low end buzz there.  But it was a pleasant surprise how these tunes came together conceptually.  I wrote them all individually and they all seemed to arrange themselves on the album to almost tell a story with the characters.  It is very loose, it is not a forced thing, but if you listen with the idea that there is some flow from one song to the next, it will make sense. 

HT:  Do you draw your inspiration from your own experiences or do you rely more on what you see around you? 

GA:  I approach my songwriting by not trying to exclude any inspiration.  I describe the songs as semi-autobiographical.  There is a piece of me in there, but exaggerated to a sort of intensity that I don’t always personally deal with. 

HT:  If you had to take one song from the new album to introduce what you do to someone, to say, “This is who I am as a songwriter,” what song would it be? 

GA:  Man, that’s a good question. {Pauses} I think it would be a toss up between “Brain-Child” and “Lonely Eve”.  They both have some clever word play and represent and emotional quirkiness that I think is fun to sing about. 

HT:  Have you had a chance to play all of these songs live before, or will they be making their maiden voyage to the stage at the 8×10? 

GA:  Some of these songs are two or three years old and I have rotated them in and out of some of the other things I have done.  There are a few that will be debuted, and I am going to cross my fingers and hope I remember all the lyrics. {Laughs} 

HT: So are these upcoming shows going to be strictly solo? 

GA:  The 8×10 show is going to be an ensemble.  A couple of friends are going to be sitting in with me.  Kenton Dunson on keys and Ryan Baldwin on drums who both played with me in LUCA, Todd McCagg on bass, and my girlfriend Lauren Hawthorne and sister Cassandra Anderson on vocals.  I have really been working to make the CD release show an event.  With no real team it has really consumed me preparing for it. 

HT: I am sure it has been an overwhelming experience for you with the all work going into it. 

GA:  For sure.  But it has been a learning experience and a very empowering experience.  

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