Home > News & Reviews > Anderson East

Anderson East - Encore (Album Review)

Thursday, 18 January 2018 Written by Simon Ramsay

Every now and then you come across an artist you’re convinced is going to be a superstar. That, ladies and gents, is definitely the case with singer-songwriter Anderson East. Armed with a sassy smorgasbord of swinging R&B, roof-raising gospel and smouldering soul, the man from Alabama has dragged the vintage strains of Otis Redding, Joe Cocker, Sam Cooke and Ben E. King into the present.

That’s not to say East has suddenly materialised out of the ether intent on delivering salvation from all today’s artificial evils. No sir. The Dave Cobb-produced ‘Encore’ follows up three albums, the first of which was put out under the name Mike Anderson, and an EP. Prior to their release the 30-year-old grandson of a Baptist preacher studied music engineering in Tennessee, before working as a session player and studio hand. He’s grafted for his big break.

‘Delilah’, East’s sublime major label debut, was released via Elektra three years ago and whet the appetite for more. But aside from getting a song on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack he’s most recently been in the headlines due to his romance with country queen Miranda Lambert. ‘Encore’ looks set to change that, though. With a batch of unerringly heartfelt gems so wonderfully written, orchestrated and performed that he pulls off the tricky feat of recalling unearthed diamonds from yesteryear without it once feeling like a reverent reproduction.

This impressive achievement stems from a combination of Cobb’s vibrant production, the co-writing contributions of Chris Stapleton, Natalie Hemby and Aaron Raitiere, among others, and the fact that East sings with such expressive truthfulness. Delivered with his spine tingling range and instinctive ability to phrase each lyric perfectly for maximum impact, the results are timeless and universally relatable.

Packing vocal chords that have possibly been barbecued for days and then lathered with rich honey, his smoky rasp is equally comfortable letting rip on the super-charged Surrender, declaring unyielding affection during This Too Shall Last or whipping up a stirring storm of gospel emoting for If You Keep Leaving Me.

East’s compositional skillset, meanwhile, comes into its own on tracks that meld modern and traditional, where he demonstrates a canny flair for invention and reinterpretation. The sax-propelled Girlfriend may be a co-write with Avicci that possesses stunning electronic flourishes, but rather than feeling out of place it’s a swaggering mixture of past and present that could be this record’s crossover Trojan horse.

The same could be said for the outstanding All On My Mind. Originally penned by Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid, East reworked it to suit his aesthetic, imbuing its potentially generic indie balladry with full-throated passion and raw power. Along similar lines, he’s turned Ted Hawkins’ breezy folk ditty Sorry You’re Sick into a barn storming big band romp and excavates a resilient fortitude from Willie Nelson’s mournful Somebody Pick Up My Pieces.

A heaven sent choir of soulful backing vocals, alongside mesmerising instrumental textures, gift ‘Encore’ with a gorgeously vibrant sonic canvas. Recalling the classy and cool stylings of the legendary Muscles Shoals Rhythm Section, delectable piano passages, swooning strings, agile grooves, whistling organs and a peppering of frisky and feline horns are empathetically performed by musicians whose magical touches will suffocate you before you even realise they’ve stolen your breath.

Whether it’s to do with East’s current relationship or his natural maturation, ‘Encore’ dishes up a more personal, fully rounded and cohesive exploration of the bittersweet complexities of love than ‘Delilah’. With an overarching narrative that navigates devotion, defiance, infatuation and crushing loss, it’s the sound of an artist coming into his own.

Anderson East Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows

Wed January 24 2018 - LONDON Omeara

Click here to compare & buy Anderson East Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!

You May Also Like:

'It Feels Like A Landmark Album For Us': Delta Sleep Discuss The Expansive 'Ghost City'
Fri 10 Aug 2018
Photo: Paola Baltazar​ Much like prog before it, math-rock hasn't always appeared the most accessible of genres. As a form, it's designed to keep listeners on their toes, directing and misdirecting with syncopated rhythms, jagged melodic progressions and non-standard time signatures. That might not seem like a recipe for commercial success, but if there's one thing Brits can get behind it's art that's awkward, intelligent and self aware.
Life In A Whirlwind: Mt. Joy Discuss Their Startling Rise
Wed 15 Aug 2018
Until a certain streaming service turned their lifelong musical fantasies into a reality, the members of folky Americana quintet Mt. Joy were on a very different path indeed. To retool an old saying, life as they know it happened while they were busy living other best laid plans.
From Blues Boy To Next Big Thing: The Making of Dan Owen
Thu 23 Aug 2018
It’s easy to question the authenticity of any young musician who stirs up a super-sized buzz. Are they merely a record company’s latest marionette? Yet another superficial media darling destined for 15 minutes of fame? Dan Owen certainly generated significant plaudits before his debut album, ‘Stay Awake With Me’, had even been released, but the finished product revealed a special singer-songwriter who, after years of grafting for his shot at the big time, is being lauded for all the right reasons.
Living Their Best Lives: Idles' Joe Talbot Talks Their New Album 'Joy As An Act Of Resistance'
Thu 30 Aug 2018
Crackling through a speakerphone, Joe Talbot’s voice is calm and level. “I don’t feel any pressure to do anything,” he says. “It’s up to me. I genuinely don’t care what anyone else makes of what I do. It’s up to me to be as honest to myself, and truthful to the band and our art, as possible. The rest is up to you.”
It All Starts With The Song: The Beating Heart Of Country Star Brent Cobb
Fri 31 Aug 2018
Photo: Don VanCleave It may sound like wishful thinking, but in an ideal world music would begin and end with nothing but a great song. There’d be no record companies or publications trying to shape our tastes. Image would be unimportant. Sales irrelevant. Radio airplay redundant. The only thing that would matter would be the creativity of the musician and how they reflect themselves through their art.
New Soul Legends UK Dates Announced Featuring Lemar
Mon 13 Aug 2018
A new batch of Soul Legend dates featuring Lemar have been announced.
Never Bored: Ugly-Pop Band Skating Polly Discuss Life On Tour
Mon 10 Sep 2018
Wanderlust is a word usually associated with gap years and middle aged people who want a fancy way of saying they’re bored with the life they’ve made for themselves.
Wild Nothing - Indigo (Album Review)
Fri 31 Aug 2018
‘Indigo’ is the fourth album from L.A.-based dream pop troubadour Jack Tatum as Wild Nothing and it comprises 11 skilfully written tracks that directly ape ‘70s and ‘80s British art rock - in particular Roxy Music.
< Prev   Next >