al stewart

E r i c... A n d e r s e n

beach full of shells
Eric Andersen


“The folk music movement centered in New York’s Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, although it was steeped in traditional repertoire, quickly focused on new, original songs written by the performers themselves, songs that explored mature personal concerns and commented on the social and political issues of the day. Eric Andersen was a part of that movement while it was happening, so his ‘Great American Song Series,’ the second volume of which is called Waves (following the first volume, 2004's The Street Was Always There) represents a participant interpreting the compositions of his peers. Unlike, say, Rod Stewart recording his Great American Songbook series of pre-rock standards with little sense of what those songs were about, this is more what you might get if, for example, Hoagy Carmichael had made an album of the songs of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin. In fact, that comparison is particularly apt because Carmichael, though of the same generation as those songwriters, was actually just a little younger, which is also true of Andersen, who was born after, but within a few years, to every songwriter he covers on this album except John Sebastian (and Sebastian is less than a year younger). Andersen may have been closest to Phil Ochs personally among these musical friends . . . Here, he sticks to Ochs’ sad, lovely, and apolitical ‘Changes,’ to which he is much more suited. But he shows the greatest affinity for moody, introspective singer/songwriters like Tim Buckley (‘Once I Was’) and Fred Neil (“I’ve Got a Secret”), recalling their phrasing while adding his own style as a gloss. . . . Andersen himself probably wouldn’t claim to have improved upon the original artists’ versions of these songs, but covering them provides a different perspective, brings them up to date, and may help rescue some of them from obscurity. . . . There are still a few people (Richie Havens and Mark Spoelstra, to name two) so far unrepresented, so a third volume would not be amiss.(4 stars)” 
– William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
“. . . Every song is a gem as Eric’s singing is infused with true love for the songs and writers. . . . Strong performances throughout. . . . Surely a large part of Eric’s impetus is to spark listeners who weren’t around when the songs were new to delve into the writers’ own works. Noble purpose.” 
– Michael Tearson, Sing Out!
". It’s my recall that Andersen only intended to cut two Great American Song Series albums, but based on the strength of Waves, now that he has taken this road, it’s one that he should pursue further while not forsaking entirely the release of recordings featuring new creations from his still fertile and poetic mind. (Rating: 8 out of 10)’ 
– Arthur Wood, FolkWax
“Why change a winning team? With Waves, the follow-up to his “Great American Songs” series, Eric Andersen re-uses the recipe that made The Street Was Always There a success: revamp classic songs of the ’60’s that were lovingly crafted by mostly confidential songwriters. . . . Because the actual purpose of the series is to make sure – at all costs – that the work of those songwriters does not sink into oblivion, Eric Andersen puts his energy into a project dedicated to the Word, using a definitely modern production, a clever selection of songwriters he was close to, and a songbook that is as powerful as ever. . . . 'The Great American Songs Series' opens a huge door to a key period of the American Way of Life. Don’t hesitate to step inside that house to (re)discover some endangered masterpieces."
– Herve Oudet, Crossroads, France
 “. . . Andersen continues to mine the repertoire of folk icons from the 1960s Greenwich Village scene. Once again producer/arranger Robert Aaron (of Wyclef Jean fame) has given the tracks a warm and shimmering sound. . . . Andersen, whose voice has become deeper and more wistful with time, doesn’t simply replicate the original arrangements, but rather presents them in a very modern setting, one which reaffirms their timelessness. Unlike its predecessor, Waves features less topical material but more road songs, such as a new version of Andersen’s own ‘Today is the Highway’ and an obscure live version of his ‘Thirsty Boots” that features Judy Collins, Tom Rush and Arlo Guthrie. . . . As Andersen implies in ‘Hymn of Waves,’ the sole new original, these songs originally created waves, and the ripple effects are still with us.” 
– Paul E. Comeau, No Depression
"He makes each song on this set his own, injecting his own spirit and tears into songs that deserved more than they got. With a small dose of Andersen’s own written intensity, we are largely blessed with a stunning treatment of folk/rock classics that say something more than the music that carries the songs.  They are handled with respect and dignity, a trait that Andersen showcased in his first volume of the Great American Song Series and continues here on this luminous album that is an essential addition to libraries of the lovers of these songs. . . . Hallowed ground here, folks; please remove your shoes. (4-1/2 stars)” 
– Matt Rowe,
“The essential instrumentation wraps around Andersen’s voice and electric guitar, and serves perfectly the beauty of the songs he chose. These are little miracles of music and poetry that need only this sincere treatment to bloom again.” 
Audio Review
“Absolutely first class . . . Wonderful.” 
JAM Magazine, Italy