The much maligned art of Folk music is currently struggling to emerge from the confines of bedrooms and open mic sets due to a backlash which has seen the likes of Mumford & Sons used as comical fodder amongst the ever-hip media tastemakers. Perhaps Folk music was not ever meant to be popularised, meant to be borrowed in the shadows for keener ears to find. In truth, the art of good Folk music coincides with the art of good songwriting. Get it right and you have written a song that many will cover in different forms, get it wrong and it will end up on the scrapheap of heartfelt odes which failed to hit the hearts of the masses.
Some artists such as Eric Anders have been lucky enough to keep plying their trade producing a heavily concentrated body of work. Starting late in his career, the Californian singer-songwriter has released four critically acclaimed CDs within the space of four years; Not At One (2003), Songs For Wayward Days (2004), More Regrets (2005) and Tethered to the Ground (2006). As a result, and with the help of Jeff Peters (who has worked previously with the Beach Boys), he is lucky enough to give his fans a compilation album named Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders.
The LP is a twelve-track expression of Anders’ best work so far. It just so happens that the songs chosen work well in this new tracklisting formation, serving up a piece of coherent work that serves the artist and his audience very well. Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders is a sturdy representation of Anders’ songwriting craft and lyrical potency, akin to the likes of Jack Johnson and David Gray at their most prolific.
Anders’ has said to be most proud of his third full-length release, Tethered to the Ground, and it shows here as he includes five tracks from the album including a cover of Violent Femmes’ Blister in the Sun. However, the real highlight comes in the form of Remains In Me, from the album of the same name. It’s Anders at his edgiest, with a certain level of angst that resonates through jangly guitars and a very 90s attitude, similar to the likes of British bands Stereophonics or Travis.
Big World Abide is a good body of work and will entertain those yearning for the honesty and intimacy of Folk music. You can stream the album on Soundcloud below: