California singer songwriter Eric Anders, from the San Francisco Bay area, started writing and recording late in life, but has certainly made up for it with the release of four critically acclaimed albums over the space of four years. Now his creative body has been compiled and re-mastered as the beautiful ‘Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders’, and released in June this year.
Eric Anders released his debut album, ‘Not At One’ in 2003, teaming up with Mark O’Bitz for songwriting, Richard Barron on production, and Neofolk duo, Benny Bohm and Silvia Ryder, from The Sugarplum Fairies, working on songwriting (Benny) and pre-production (both). The album was mixed by Jeff Peters, who stayed on to produce Eric’s EP, ‘Songs For Wayward Days’, an anti-Bush political album, released a few months ahead of the 2004 election. Anders worked with Davey Faragher (Cracker), and Pete Thomas, best known as being the drummer for Elvis Costello.
Eric enlisted the services of guitarist Randy Mitchell for his third release, and second full length album, 2005s ‘More Regrets’, with Randy both playing on and producing the album, as well as co-writing a few of the songs with Eric, and his usual collaborator, Mark O’Bitz.
Eric’s fourth release, ‘Tethered To The Ground’, which came out in 2005, is the one of which he is most proud, and saw him once again team up with Mark O’Bitz. The pair presented their cover of The Violent Femmes’ ‘Blister In The Sun’ to the song’s writer, Gordon Gano, who gave his approval and allowed them to release it with its altered lyrics. The slowed-down, ethereal take on the song was described by music critic Mark Wilson as “outstanding”, who went on to say that Anders “takes it from an 80s party anthem to a tale of romantic exhaustion and resignation”.
Whereas Eric’s prior releases were all produced and mixed in Los Angeles, Eric’s next two releases would be produced in Seattle. Producer-guitarist Matt Brown (Trespassers William) would have a huge impact on Eric’s sound on these two releases: ‘Tethered to the Ground’ and ‘Remains In Me’ (2011).
Inspired by Michael Apted’s 1992 documentary, ‘Incident At Oglala’, Eric wrote the politically charged songs on ‘Remains In Me’ with either Mark O’Bitz or Benny Bohm. The project saw some amazing musicians come together, including Jeff Fielder on electric guitar, and Lindsay Fuller on acoustic guitar.
Jeff Peters, who has mixed four of Eric’s releases, has taken on the task of remastering his songs for the latest release, ‘Big World Abide: The Best Of Eric Anders’. Jeff’s worked with both The Beach Boys, and Brian Setzer, and has managed to bring together the songs in a poignantly cohesive whole, which to the uninitiated ear sounds like they were always meant to be that way.
Eric’s voice at times reminds us of Glenn Frey, with its California laidback timbre. He also at times sounds like James Taylor and Jeff Buckley -in all Eric is a talented singer and genius songwriter.
Eric is currently working on his next release. You can buy ‘Big World Abide: The Best Of Eric Anders’, from his Bandcamp site. Find Eric Anders online on Facebook, Soundcloud, and his Official Website.