Sound Advice: Anderson East

Thursday • 20th Century Theater

Feb 17, 2016 at 10:09 am
click to enlarge Anderson East
Anderson East

Pop culture’s microscopic focus on fame and celebrity means that Anderson East’s recognition has risen more because of his recent status as Miranda Lambert’s boyfriend than for his incredible musical abilities. The saving grace is that East is so phenomenal that it really doesn’t matter how you get to him, just as long as you get to him.

Born Michael Anderson in Athens, Ala., a mere 27 years ago, East comes from the Southern tradition of church-inspired musical aptitude; his father sang in the choir and his mother played piano. East wrote his first song for his 7th grade talent show and later taught himself piano and began writing songs in high school. After studying music engineering at Middle Tennessee State, East moved to Nashville and made his entry into the business by playing guitar and singing with Holly Williams. At 21, East self-released his debut album, 2009’s Closing Credits for a Fire, under his given name.

He soon changed his name to Anderson East and released an EP of demos to mark the shift. In 2012, East released his sophomore album, the double disc Flowers of the Broken Hearted; the white disc represented the Americana/Soul aspect of his creative identity, while the red disc showed off his darker Rock side.

Last year, East signed with Elektra, which released his third album, the stellar Delilah on their Low Country Sounds imprint. With endorsements from the likes of Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson (and the album's esteemed producer Dave Cobb), East’s smoky Southern Soul/R&B/Americana vibe has won him fans across a wide demographic.

East has been favorably compared to Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding and it’s not hard to hear their influences in his horn-soaked Soul sermons. You’ll also hear them in his latest song, “Learning,” a tribute to his father and his contribution to Cobb’s upcoming Southern Family concept compilation.

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