By Dylan Michael Bentley
“The object of art is not to make salable products. It is to save one’s self, and to be a part of saving us all.” – Mary Gauthier
Few, if any, contemporary musicians’ body of work embodies this sentiment better than Edward David Anderson’s. Throughout his two decades–in the bands Brother Jed, Backyard Tire Fire and Magic Box–Anderson has never stopped hunting for truth through music. Even when that truth is desolate and devastating, Ed has kept his smile and forged ahead.
Unlike other writers of his caliber—Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt,—who offer penetrating revelations but rarely with option or outlet for hope, Ed has always managed to miraculously harness lights at the ends of even the darkest tunnels. That’s one of the most underused, overlooked, yet sorely needed traits in artists, poets and prophets.
So we’re all very much the richer for every line that pours and fights its way out of him. All of his talents—that casually wise and lived-in voice, inventive studio work, catchy hooks and breezy compositions chained to intelligent and hard-won lyricism—are expertly displayed throughout. “Son of a Plumber,” serves as a memorial to his mother and tribute to his father. “I Missed You,” a longtime live staple, finally finds itself on record. It’s a touching and naked confession to his wife. Both are beautiful examples of Ed’s knack to take on subjects so personal and make them universal.
“Lies & Wishes,” “Lost & Found,” “Nothing Lasts Forever” and “The Next Melody” all delve into the struggles one has within oneself. All of them ultimately find their hope. All of them take part in not only saving him, but all of us who are listening.
Dylan Michael Bentley is a pretty fine singer/songwriter himself in Illinois. He is an occasional contributor here at Vocals On Top and always provides a good perspective on other artists music. Your should go check out his facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/dylanmichaelbentley