|There’s a Bluebird in My Heart|
Anders Parker — There’s a Bluebird in My Heart
Ξ♦ Z dnešního balíku vytahuji zatím nejsilnější věc. Parker spřádá různé melodie do silného celku se svými curling–kytarovými linkami k vytvoření ovzduší čisté krásy, což je dobré znamení: ani příliš rootsy, ani příliš McCartneyho. Po zvukovém víru album končí písničkou hranou na ukulele, See You On The Other Side, krátkou a působící jako dodatek k albu: shrnuje tak jeho filozofii. Náročné, ale nakonec obohacující poslouchat. Že má na albu Thayer Sarrano, považuji za odměnu pro fans.
♦Ξ Anders Parker flexes all of his considerable creative muscles with his latest — and perhaps best — solo album.
Styles: Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Guitar Virtuoso, Neo–Psychedelia, Alt–Country
Location: Portland, OR, to Brooklyn, NY, to Raleigh, NC, to Upstate New York, Burlington, Vermont
Album release: June 17, 2014
Recording date: January 4, 2013 — January 6, 2013
Record Label: Recorded and Freed
1 The Road 8:13
2 Animals 4:20
3 Don't Let the Darkness In 4:06
4 Unspoken 3:27
5 Silver Yonder 2:57
6 Feel It 3:44
7 Epic Life 5:03
8 Jackbooted Thugs (Have All the Best Drugs) 8:08
9 See You on the Other Side 1:03
Ξ♦ David Barbe Engineer, Mixing, Producer, Wurlitzer
♦Ξ Claire Campbell Singing Saw, Vocals
Ξ♦ Case of Beer Men's Choir Vocals (Background)
♦Ξ Joe Egan Engineer
Ξ♦ Gary Griffiths Layout
♦Ξ Steve Hadeka Drums
Ξ♦ Patterson Hood Vocals
♦Ξ Joe Lambert Mastering
Ξ♦ Creston Lea Bass
♦Ξ Jon Mills Bass
Ξ♦ Rob O'Dea Engineer
♦Ξ Anders Parker Arranger, Bass, Composer, Design, Guitars (Ac+El), Keyboards, Percussion, Photography, Piano, Producer, Slide Guitar, Ukulele, Vocals
Ξ♦ Thayer Sarrano Piano, Wurlitzer
♦Ξ Ami Spishock Photography
Ξ♦ Jannell Turner Photography
♦Ξ Jeremy Wheatley Drums © Carolyn de Berry/Thayer Sarrano
Jeffrey Sisk, Posted on June 19, 2014; Score: 4/5
Ξ♦Ξ My first exposure to singer/songwriter Anders Parker came a couple years ago when he teamed up Jay Farrar, Will Johnson and Yim Yames on “New Multitudes,” an album on which the modern Americana icons offered up their own interpretation of folk legend Woody Guthrie’s unrecorded lyrics.
Ξ♦Ξ Parker has performed in Varnaline, Space Needle and Gob Iron, and has found time to record a handful of records under his own name for good measure. Latest solo effort “There’s a Blue Bird in My Heart” ranks among his better offerings, as Parker shines throughout the nine–track release. Epic opener “The Road,” which clocks in at more than eight minutes, is flat–out amazing, and Parker also delivers the goods on “Animal,” “Unspoken,” “Feel It” and “Jackbooted Thugs.” Good stuff.
By Eric Risch, August 13, 2014; Score: 8
Ξ♦Ξ The title of Anders Parker’s latest album, There’s a Blue Bird in My Heart borrows from Charles Bukowski’s poem “Bluebird”. This is not the first instance of Parker paying homage to the famed poet: on his 2009 double–concept album, Skyscraper Crow, “Horses Running Over the Hills” shares its title with a collection of Bukowski’s poetry called The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills. The closest thing to Bukowski on Blue Bird may be the chorus of the monolithic “Jackbooted Thugs” where Parker exclaims, “Jackbooted thugs have all the best drugs / All the best times I had on someone else’s dime.”
Ξ♦Ξ In the years since his last solo album, Parker released Cross Latitudes, an instrumental collection; recorded and toured behind an album of duets with Kendall Meade; and most notably contributed to New Multitudes, a collection of unreleased Woody Guthrie compositions brought to life by the quartet of Parker, Jim James, Will Johnson and Parker’s Gob Iron partner Jay Farrar.
Ξ♦Ξ Blue Bird finds Parker energized and plugged in, recalling his days fronting Varnaline. The shambolic opener, “The Road”, is a compartmentalized meandering through life’s choices and their resulting ups and downs. Both ebullient and agonizing, Parker recounts the division between youthful vigor and maturity for more than eight minutes, building tension through the sprawl. “Animal” extends the sonic dynamics, opening with an onomatopoeic guitar riff and lyrics that embrace psychologist Walter Bradford Cannon’s theory of fight or flight: “There is no way to really know / What you could do when pushed too far / Until your back is up against / Some wall and you are cornered.”
Ξ♦Ξ Parker toys with this tug of war between rage and restraint throughout Blue Bird, much like a boxer playing rope–a–dope on “Don’t Let the Darkness In”, a one–sided linguistic sparring match with a former love delivered in his velvet voice, or the plaintive love song “Unspoken” with its declaration of “Life’s tragic / But magic, too,” before surging into an apocalyptic coda.
Ξ♦Ξ The sequencing of the album mirrors this dichotomy; at first jarring but then cathartic, the militaristic drum beat of “Jackbooted Thugs” is compounded to a level that stops just short of a firing squad commencing its duty before segueing into the album’s closer, “See You On the Other Side”, a minute–long ditty plucked out on a ukulele with Parker cooing, “See you on the other side / Until then baby let’s enjoy the ride.” Immediately sparking visions of a hula–skirted bobblehead on a car dash, you then realize how Parker has shed any tension from the former with the latter. Or has he?
Ξ♦Ξ Looking ahead as much as looking back, Parker reflects on life’s little moments and its possibilities. Singing on the affirmative “Epic Life”, Parker proclaims, “Don’t want to disappear / Don’t want to die / Just want to have it all / In an epic life.” Constantly luring you in and pummeling expectations, There’s a Blue Bird in My Heart is packed with sucker punches and subtle jabs. Filled with sound and fury, no final blow is ever delivered, but, nonetheless, Parker has created a knockout. Ξ♦Ξ http://www.popmatters.com/
By Melissa Bratcher
Ξ♦Ξ You know those TV shows that have artful music direction, like early Supernatural or Friday Night Lights or Parenthood (Jason Katims, I salute you!)? The ones that use quietly epic, devastating songs that push Matt Saracen’s story forward or underscore Sam and Dean’s struggle beautifully in a way that mere words can’t do, perhaps with an acoustic flourish? Anders Parker has written that record. There’s A Blue Bird In My Heart is packed with songs that have a quietly epic quality — the kind you feel deep down in your heart and guts.
Ξ♦Ξ The opener, “The Road,” is massive in scale — almost like three songs stitched together — running long, but boundless in creativity. It winds and turns just like its namesake, a bit desolate, a bit wild. The following track, “Animals,” has a classic bluesy AOR feel, but it’s so much more than that. The guitar follows Parker’s agile vocal line that erupts into a howl; a predatory stomp turns to a thrash.
Ξ♦Ξ Anders Parker’s vocal delivery is reminiscent of Joel Plaskett’s on “Don’t Let The Darkness In,” hopeful and warm with an edge, and an unusual guitar solo that sounds very far away. There are more upward, hopeful feelings on “Epic Life,” the epitome of a quietly epic song, large on the choruses with a rambling acoustic guitar on the verses, evoking “cool nights at the fairgrounds” on the first verse. It yearns and wants, the kind of song that makes tears spring to my eyes without even knowing why it happens. It could, of course, be the chorus: “Don’t want to disappear/don’t want to die/just want to have it all/in an epic life,” a sentiment I can always get behind.
Ξ♦Ξ “Silver Yonder” is delicate and sleepy, and begins with Parker’s easy voice and a single ukulele. A gentle breath of a song, a look to the west with hope: it’s completely captivating. What could be the flipside is “Jackbooted Thugs.” Military cadence drumming with a guitar solo that’s like “When The Saints Go Marching In” through a cracked mirror, it’s an odd departure from the bucolic, otherworldly gorgeous songs. Ξ♦Ξ It’s not unwelcome, but it’s tonally odd and quite long with repetition.
Ξ♦Ξ There’s A Blue Bird In My Heart is a stunning work. These songs burrowed down into my heart (maybe like a bluebird, but a sedated one, because that would probably hurt) and they wrote their own screenplays to accompany. I don’t know that there’s anything else you could want from a record, really. Ξ♦Ξ http://popshifter.com/
250 Word Album Review: Score: ***½
Ξ♦Ξ Anders Parker flies just under the radar the way many great indie acts have to now. With a style similar to Jim James of My Morning Jacket (but not that terrible solo album James released) he could easily be exposed to a much larger audience but simply hasn’t gotten the recognition. Using his strong songwriting and a mixture of delicate ballads and edgy rockers he has all the tools that James has, just not the fanfare.
Ξ♦Ξ The title There’s A Bluebird In My Heart makes it sound like you are going to get a mushy bunch of acoustic numbers but that isn’t entirely true. There are a good share of soft rockers here like “Don’t Let The Darkness In” and “Silver Yonder” but Parker turns up the amps long enough to keep you from getting complacent. The 8–plus minute “The Road” opens the record with edge having a driving drum beat and some solid but patient riffs awaiting you as you get further into the song. “Animals” is where Parker lets the most raunchy guitar loose as the guitar line mimics the vocals and follows along the stompy beat creating the album’s most appealing track.
Ξ♦Ξ As the record winds, Parker lets loose on another rocker clocking in at over 8 minutes with the song “Jackbooted Thugs” and bookends the album well as the middle of it sticks with a pretty consistent slower pace. The songs here rival anything he wrote with Varnaline and once again prove that Parker is, in fact, an underrated songwriter.
Key Tracks: “Animal” “The Road” “Don’t Let The Darkness In”
BY MICHAEL TOLAND; SCORE: ****
Written by Hal Horowitz June 18th, 2014 at 10:23 am; Score: 3/5
Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ****
Paul Kerr, August 16, 2014
Artist Biography by Kenyon Hopkin
Ξ♦Ξ Man of Sin Americana singer/songwriter Anders Parker has recorded as the alt–country act Varnaline and played in the experimental band Space Needle as well as going under his own name. He's also collaborated with such artists as Kendall Meade (Mascott) and Jay Farrar (Son Volt). Based in Brooklyn, Parker grew up on an old farm in New York's Hudson Valley listening to Bob Dylan, ABBA, R.E.M., the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and the Smiths. He began releasing records as Varnaline in 1996, starting with Man of Sin on Zero Hour. The following year Varnaline included Anders' bass–playing brother John Parker and drummer Jud Ehrbar, who convinced Anders to play in Ehrbar's band Space Needle. After the folding of Varnaline's record label, Anders relocated to North Carolina and signed to E–Squared/Artemis Records and issued Songs in a Northern Key in 2001, which was mainly a solo effort under the Varnaline name. The solo album Tell It to the Dust followed in 2004. In addition to a collaboration with Jay Farrar called Gob Iron, Parker released a self–titled album in 2006 under his own name on Baryon Records. He recruited Adam Lasus, who co–produced the second Varnaline and Space Needle records (as well as Clem Snide and Helium). The album featured Ken Coomer (Wilco) on drums, Eric Heywood (Son Volt) on pedal steel, Jennifer Condos on bass, and Kirk Swan (Dumptruck) on guitar. In 2011, Parker hooked up with Farrar, My Morning Jacket's Yim Yames, and Centro–Matic's Will Johnson to record an album of previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics. New Multitudes was released in early 2012 by Rounder Records.
Website: http://andersparker.com/ / MySpace: https://myspace.com/andersparker
Ξ♦Ξ “An intuitive, emerging classicist destined to carve out his own chapter.” “a poignant, articulate voice…superb, emotional” — Magnet Magazine
Ξ♦Ξ “Country–rock dipped in LSD? Anders Parker is a tough one to pin down. His songs weave somewhere around the Beatles, Neil Young, Husker Du and the Minutemen, to name a few.” — HARP
Ξ♦Ξ “Rock’s ancient history offers few examples of wayward talent somehow left alone to pursue an eccentric, uncommercial vision: Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, Skip Spence’s Oar, and anything by Syd Barrett…. there’s no denying the visceral pull of Parker’s plaintive vocals, and uncluttered naked emotion…” — London Sunday Times
Ξ♦Ξ …his music could be categorized as “alt–classic.”… he distinguishes himself with his songwriting, through a combination of craft, conviction and open ended wonder.
— No Depression
Ξ♦Ξ “Anders Parker is the kind of artist whose work, at whatever point you happen to be exposed to it first, will lure you to seek out the rest.”
“Like the soft–spoken friend who astounds you once you finally train your ears to pay attention. The songs turn down flashy for something much more welcome and rare: enduring.” — Pop Matters
|There’s a Bluebird in My Heart|