Bellingham Songwriter/Singer Kasey Anderson Chats with Nada Editor Matt Ashworth About Bellingham Songwriter/Singer Kasey Anderson
Intro by Matt Ashworth; Interview by Kasey Anderson
When Kasey Anderson first submitted music for potential review on NadaMucho.com, I quickly wrote him off as a Steve Earle wannabe.
Luckily for both of us, Anderson didn’t let my initial ambivalence towards his music deter him. Nor did he echo my shallow assessment of his art in considering NadaMucho.com as a viable music outlet. We kept in touch via email.
Years of hard drinkin’ have rendered my memory spotty at best, but at some point Anderson mentioned he was a writer as well as a musician and offered to submit some content. By the time we’d published his third well-written, observant piece I figured it was time to revisit his music. What I found was the same kind of clear, conversational storytelling and honesty I saw in his articles and an ever-improving knack for writing memorable American pop/rock songs.
Despite his continued kinship and willingness to donate his talent to our humble pages, NadaMucho.com has never written about Kasey Anderson’s music. I could pass this off as journalistic integrity, but we’ve never shied away from wearing our conflicts of interest proudly on our sleeves before. The truth is, there’s no excuse for not sharing more about Kasey and his music with our readers.
Now is as good of a time as any to change all of that, given Kasey has just released his fifth and best album, Nowhere Nights. He’s still drawing Steve Earle comparisons (Paste even says his output this decade bests Earle’s), but reviewers are rightfully praising Nights on its own merits, of which there are many. Mixing upbeat rockers like “Torn Apart” with tender ballads like “Home,” there’s not a single clunker in sight. Kasey’s raspy voice and honest delivery give the songs a warm, comforting vibe, and he’s got a radio-ready hit in “All Lit Up.”
Given our impure connection, we decided to try something a little unconventional. We turned the tables and let Kasey ask Matt some questions.
Kasey Anderson: Matt, I’m going to cut it to you straight. I wanted to research and review Kasey Anderson and his new album, Nowhere Nights, before we got into this. I really did. But it turns out I would rather watch Daffy Duck’s “Dorlock Holmes” cartoon seventeen consecutive times than do an ounce of research about another graduate of the Steve Earle School of Narrative Songwriting and Vocal Inflection. So, in short, who the fuck is Kasey Anderson?
Matt Ashworth: He’s an American rock and roll musician who also contributes to NadaMucho.com. He really likes Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt.
KA: Okay, so he’s some kind of raspy, dusty “I had my share of hard livin’,” songwriter clown. Got it. Second question: who gives a shit?
MA: Excellent question. I didn’t give a shit about his music for a couple of years, but it turns out he’s really good. He writes clear, honest rock songs without a hint of pretention. We need Kasey Anderson just like we need John Cougar.
KA: I’ll assume you mean Johnny Cougar, the chain-smoking master of the thinly veiled sexual metaphor. I just checked out Anderson’s Twitter account and Facebook fan page. Far as I can tell, all this cat does is sit around all day watching Seinfeld and bitching about baseball. So, let me pose this question: will listening to Kasey Anderson’s records get me laid by one of those foxy Maldives or Moondoogies fans I see wandering around Ballard?
MA: I doubt it. Most of those chicks probably don’t even have the good sense to turn “Jack & Diane” and “Little Pink Houses” up when they come on the radio.
KA: I’m just sort of going to research this while we do the interview, cool? I think it’s a better idea all around than doing any sort of preliminary work. Says on his website he’s from Portland. Or lives in Portland. Or both. What an asshole. You spend much time in Portland?
MA: Really? I thought he was from Bellingham. I spent a summer there once working for a girlfriend’s Dad’s construction company. Great little town on the water with some cool bars that do music.
KA: Interesting. Follow-up question: Have you heard the Jesus Lizard reissues? They sound great.
MA: I haven’t. I saw them at the Capitol Hill Block Party last summer and, unlike Kasey, they still only have a handful of songs I like. I bet David Yow could kick his ass though.
KA: Just did a quick YouTube search and found out that this Anderson guy was actually an African American folksinger. Put out a record in like 1962 or something. Then, in another, he’s some kind of conservationist who says his best friend is a grizzly bear. This Anderson’s full of shit, man.
MA: I think maybe you have the wrong “Kasey Anderson” there.
KA: Follow-up: Check that. Turns out those were two different guys, both named Casey Anderson. With a “C.” Still. A grizzly bear? Problematic.
MA: Like that idiot in Grizzly Man? It took me about 15 seconds to decide I couldn’t wait until that guy got eaten.
KA: Have you ever heard the recording of his death? I’m told it’s horrifying. On a related note, according to this Anderson guy’s site, in 2009 he released a home-recorded album of covers (Way Out West), started a label, signed five acts to the label (Chip Robinson, Eric Ambel, The Tallboys of Kentucky, Dead Rock West and Natalie D-Napoleon), and released Nowhere Nights in February of 2010. Not bad. Have you heard Nowhere Nights at all? Dig it?
MA: Yes I have heard Nowhere Nights. It’s really good. You distracted me when you mentioned that covers album though. I checked the track listing and he does one of my favorite Marah songs, “Round Eye Blues.” I must get a copy of that, like ASAP.
KA: I’m trying to find a press photo of this guy. What do you want to bet he looks forlorn? Oh, here we go. Jackpot! “When I’m not thinking about my art, I’m contemplating the vast emptiness of life.”
MA: Check out the one where’s he’s standing in alley by a dumpster staring at his feet. What a douchebag.
KA: It would appear he filled that dumpster with both his pride and his shame. Final question: on a scale of 1-10, 1 being 10 and 10 also being 10, how transparent was this? Couldn’t we have just taken a picture of me masturbating to a picture of myself while you looked on in horror and called it good?
MA: Let’s keep that in mind for next time.