Tag Archives Blues

Anderson East interview

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Since his childhood growing up in Alabama, music has been in Michael Anderson’s soul. He released his first album in 2009, using the name Mike Anderson, and later began using the moniker Anderson East. Under that name, he self-released an album in 2012, but it’s his recent debut under Low Country Sound/Elektra Records that’s placed Anderson East on the map. From its title to some lyrical inspiration, Anderson’s Delilah draws on his Southern Baptist roots and mixes blues, R&B, gospel, and country with a little bit of rock to create an album marked by his soulful, gravelly voice. From grooving to his cover of George Jackson’s “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em” to swaying along with “Devil in Me,” Anderson’s Delilah is a captivating album. 

Cliché: What drew you to music?
Anderson East: I think, as a kid, I needed some type of outlet that wasn’t an organized sport or something of that nature. I think when I got an electric guitar, that void was filled. I was so infatuated with how music made me feel at such a young age, and so appropriately, making music was the only thing that could heighten that feeling.

What instruments do you play, and how did you learn?
I mainly play guitar. I can fake a few others. But I learned just by trying to play along with records.

Where does your moniker stem from?
A Japanese comic book and the show Monk on the USA network. Both of them really spoke to me and changed my life.

Who/what are your musical influences?
The Carpenters and Jane’s Addiction.

Where does the title Delilah come from?
It comes from the story of Samson and Delilah in the Bible.

What inspired your album?
A beautiful and challenging woman I met in a movie theater in Chicago.

Before you found George Jackson’s “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em and Forget ‘Em,” were you considering another cover song for the album?
Yeah. I had been messing with the No Doubt song “Don’t Speak.” I have always loved that song. I think it’s a great modern American pop song that has legs to do something fun with.

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I think Beck would be an awesome guy to hang out and make some music with.

What’s your favorite song to perform live?
“Satisfy Me” is always a blast to play, but I find a lot of joy playing all these songs. “What a Woman Wants to Hear” is also a lot of fun in the proper environment.

Your next few months are filled with tour dates, including some with The Lone Bellow. What are looking forward to about touring?
Well obviously, I look forward to playing the shows, but I’m also really excited to meet all the folks at the shows and eat some new food along the ride. Also, we’ve scheduled in about five days four of our own private roller skating parties. Those are gonna get wild.

Read more Music Interviews on ClicheMag.com

Photographed by  Becky Fluke

Album Review: Gary Clark Jr. ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim’

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Consider the difference between Mumford & Sons’ and Kendrick Lamar’s second album. The arena folk rock act came in hot with with Babel, its highly commercialized, chart topping album that made them the household name they are today. Lamar was expected to do the same this year but instead delivered the masterful political and cultural art album that is To Pimp A Butterfly. Both strategies worked in those cases, but only because the artists fully committed to that line of attack.  

Gary Clark Jr. had the opportunity to make that sort of impact with his sophomore album The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, but winds up somewhere in the middle of innovation and wide-reaching success.

The virtuosic blues guitar player has turned heads ever since his 2010 performance at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, and his debut album Blak And Blu cemented this young musician as a major mover and shaper in the blues rock scene.

Sonny Boy was the name Clark’s mother would call him and his friends called him Slim, making this album his story. It’s about finding salvation from the dark world we live in through music. How Clark has bettered his life and how he can help others through his music.

That can be a powerful message, however, Clark is just too vague about what those problems are to make it as powerful as some of the other self-empowerment albums of the year — namely Chance the Rapper’s work on Surf by Donnie Trumpet And The Social Experiment and D’Angelo’s masterful return on Black Messiah. Those albums had targeted and in many ways similar messages about black culture in America, while taking drastically different musical, stylistic and lyrical approaches to the topic. When I saw the album cover depicting a young Clark Jr. looking up at a school bus as if overwhelmed about the world he was about to encounter, I got excited. Perhaps the Texas born guitarist could bring yet another fresh take on the topic that has swept our political and cultural landscape for the past year.

Alas, I’m left a little disappointed. The album’s subject matter is vague enough to make it  relatable but to the extent that it feels impersonal. In that way the album is very much a stepping stone for an artist who has endless potential.

The two opening tracks — “Healing” and “Grinder” —  will appeal most to fans of the southern-tinged Eric Clapton blues that launched Clark Jr.’s career on Blak and Blu. They have that catchy guitar riff that gets in your head on the first listen, and they are the songs he’ll play most often live because they’re made to open up for some manic guitar solos.

Afterwards, he begins to experiment and get funky. He’s playing more with R&B soul grooves, layering in horns and multiple guitar lines that are meant to support the song as a whole rather than soar in overtop a thin foundation. Songs such as “Our Love” and “Cold Blooded” are also showing off the guitarist’s high falsetto more than ever before. Those killer guitar solos of old are still very much present on the album. “Hold On” and the album’s closing track “Down To Ride” in particular show off those skills in new ways.

If the beginning of this review sounds like I’m disappointed, it’s because I am. Blak and Blu was my soundtrack for so long that I had high expectations for his second release. The Story of Sonny Boy Slim is a good album you should listen to as soon as you get a chance, but it feels like Gary Clark Jr. is only scratching the surface with this one, and I can’t wait to see what happens when he masters that sound he’s looking for.

Read more music articles on ClicheMag.com

Album Review: Gary Clark Jr. ‘The Story of Sonny Boy Slim’ Image courtesy of garyclarkjr.com

Hunter And The Dirty Jacks Servicing Your Soul

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Blues rock band, Hunter And The Dirty Jacks, have been rocking and rolling at the famous Harvelle’s Santa Monica every Tuesday night. The band created a weekly concert at Harvelle’s where fans can pay five dollars or bring in two cans of food. The food donation feeds approximately two or more meals to someone going hungry in the local Santa Monica community. The band works with two charities, “Feed Your Soul” And “Magic Music Foundation.” In addition to hosting this charity event, the band has had a number of impressive guest appearances from blues legend Coco Montoya to most recently Conan O’Brien’s guitarist Jimmy Vivino as well as a host of other excellent guitarists.

The band’s event has generated enough money and food to feed thousands of hungry people across the Santa Monica area. The most recently have been working with a foster home in Los Angeles to set up music programs for the foster kids. Big plans are in the works to include other charities all while continuing to work with their current charities.

Check Hunter And The Dirty Jacks Servicing Your Soul every Tuesday at Harvelle’s Blues Club in Santa Monica if you’re in the area!

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/HunterAndTheDirtyJacks

Website:
http://www.hunterandthedirtyjacks.com/rock/