Perhaps best known as a member of the late indie Americana group, Backyard Tire Fire, Edward David Anderson has been scratching out a name for himself as a solo act in recent years. While the short track listing is arguably EP length, "Lower Alabama" is Anderson's strongest release to date.
Anderson has a likeable voice, which is almost speaking in a conversational tone for the majority of the album. It is endearing and draws the listener into the lyrics, which are ably supported by strong musicians. The roots music has a comfortable summertime tone, reminiscent of lazy Sundays on the farm. It makes sense then that the album is the culmination of a relocation to the Gulf Coast. The laid back vibe of songs like "Firefly" have a breezy warmth that is welcoming.
This is one of those rare albums that deftly balances quality songwriting with great musicianship. The smooth sway of "Silverhill" bounces along a strong bass line. The easy-going atmosphere is shattered with "Jimmy and Bob and Jack," a violent Southern Gothic tale straight out of Drive-By Truckers' wheelhouse. But for the most part, the tone is aligned with Anderson's sweet voice. On "Cried My Eyes Dry," he tackles heartbreak, although the song doesn't quite stand up to the other tracks. At times, The Avett Brothers come to mind, especially on the delightfully quirky "Valentines Day."
Much like Jason Isbell's solo career, Edward David Anderson has honed his songwriting skills since leaving Backyard Tire Fire. By stripping back instrumentation and adding a more roots based focus, his latest release showcases a musical maturation. Those who are unfamiliar with his work should start here.