When one looks at the history of music evolution in North America, there are certain hotbeds that produce numerous artists and drive the evolution of music. Memphis is famous for rockabilly and soul, New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and Seattle is credited with bringing alternative music to the masses during the '90s. There are numerous examples, but certain places seem to produce high quality artists against the odds. Way out in the eastern reaches of the continent lies the second smallest and poorest province in Canada, Nova Scotia. Like the aforementioned cities, this location has a rich history of high quality songwriters, including country artist George Canyon. It is also home to hidden gem, superb songwriter E.B. Anderson.
"Cold Ground" is an eclectic mix of musical styles, as Anderson and backing band The Resolutes deftly weave their way through a proudly North American blend. They touch on rockabilly, soul, rock and roll and elements of country and folk at various times. His soulful voice is strong and can pull of a howling rocker like "Matawan" as comfortably as critical darlings JD McPherson and Nathaniel Rateliff.
On "White Knuckle Driving," they provide a fast paced road song, an obvious east coast nod to Corb Lund's "Hurtin' Albertan." While the upbeat songs are wonderful, Anderson has a soft side as well. On "Take Time," they use steel guitar and Anderson's vocal range to full effect, drawing emotion through the sombre ballad. The hard luck tale "No One Said It'd Be Easy" is a melancholy look at life and love.
There is a prominent celebration of tradition found here. By acknowledging the roots of American music, Anderson stands out in an increasingly overproduced industry. Much like Jason Isbell, Anderson is a skilled songwriter who isn't afraid to experiment with different genres, backed capably by excellent musicians in The Resolutes. This is an excellent introduction to an artist who already sounds seasoned on his debut.