It is not easy to tear me away from watching the NBA Draft (sadly, that isn’t much of a joke) but I am mighty glad that I did last night to hear Anderson East do a set at the Hotel Café.
I had heard Anderson’s new album, Delilah, and enjoyed his soulful music, but I wasn’t prepared for his live show. It was a fantastic blast that made the Thursday night feel like a weekend party. The main complaint was that the set was too short – which is a good problem to have.
Anderson’s music dug into the classic Stax and Muscle Shoals sound, which makes sense since the singer hails from Alabama (he also recently recorded an EP at Muscle Shoal’s fabled Fame Studios). Tunes like “Find ‘Em, Fool ‘Em, and Forget ‘Em,” “Satisfy Me,” “Quit You” and “Only You” feel like classic soul tracks and he held his own covering Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey” and old Eddie Floyd hit “Knock On Wood” (which give you a sense of where Anderson’s coming from).
On top of all that, Anderson is a charmer of a Southern gent who quickly won over the crowd. He even got the notoriously sedentary L.A. audience up out of their seats to move to his music. His band is a funky, fun outlet where keyboard and guitars are supported by trumpet and sax. Oh, and then there’s his voice, which has a dirt road raspiness but also holds the power to be a gritty belter. Add up all of these ingredients and Anderson is poised to be the next great rock ‘n’ soul man (although that begs that question, who was the last great rock ‘n’ soul man).
Anderson East’s album, Delilah, comes out on July 10 on Low Country Sound/Elektra Records (it’s the first release on producer Dave Cobb’s new label).
Here’s a video of Anderson East doing “Satisfy Me” from those Muscle Shoals sessions.