Not sure what our expectations were going into our session with Anderson East. Our ears were mighty perked after hearing a few tracks from the Athens Alabama native's forthcoming album, Delilah. That album lives in an electric Southern soul setting; the rhythms light a fire under the feet, the horns offer exuberant pops of joy, all while Anderson yelps, hollers, and croons in a pebbly, Southern draw. We were intrigued.
But in the three song offering here a shift occurs and the results are nothing short of spectacular. Though Anderson favors robust soul on the stage, these are songs clearly entrenched in roots, rock and country folk. There might not be much here...a voice and a guitar. But everything is here. "Devil In Me", "Only You", and "Satisfy Me" suggest Anderson's an artist who does his living hard, fills up his heart, and wrings it out into the chords and stories that make up his music...only to head back out into the world and do it all over again. So do a little living yourself and take our session for a spin.
- Do I look at anything? - Just do what's natural. - Okay. I'm Anderson . . . this one here, okay. I'm Anderson East, this is called Devil in Me. There's a girl in Shelbyville Gave her life to Jesus First Antioch Baptist Church, where her dad preaches She's pretty as her mama; she's only 23 And she could be an angel, Lord, cause she's bringing out the devil in me Lord, forgive me for what I'm thinking Cause it's Saturday night and I'm high and I've been drinking But come tomorrow morning across the aisle I look over and see her smile Bow my head and the choir sings Lord, forgive me; she's bringing out the devil in me - I am Anderson East from Athens, Alabama. There wasn't a lot of music growing up. There was definitely gospel music. My mom would play piano in church, and we had a pretty good list of gospel tunes that we'd call on. But other than that it was just a place to be a kid, you know run around in the woods with 22 rifles and machetes and doing that kind of thing where you're kids. And I always really enjoyed singing stuff like that but a guy down the street his older brother had a guitar. And I was like, that might be the coolest thing I've ever seen. So I conned my grandma into buying me one. I was like grandma, this is what I want, a guitar. It was grandma, she's gonna be sweet, so she bought me one from Toys R' Us that had a speaker in the guitar, I wish I still had it. So yea that's kinda how it all started. Bow my head and the choir sings Lord, forgive me; she's bringing out the devil in me Lord, forgive me for what I'm thinking Growing up, I kind of knew a couple changes on piano and I got asked to play this NAACP Soul Fest when I was like 16. The pastor comes down and says "Sir, our piano player can't make it today. " And I'm like "Oh my god. " He's like "Would you mind filling in for our piano player?" There's like a bass player and an organ player and a drummer, and you know, I don't know how to play piano, I can just play these two songs and he's like "You'll be okay. " So I did my two songs and then they kept calling ladies to come up and sing, and these women would just come up, call a gospel tune and then boom, you're in. And I'm like okay. And it was the most magical, musical experience I've ever had, and it was just gospel music and these big, beautiful women giving it horns, and like you believed something that day, so that was it. We recorded the Muscle Shoals sessions down at FAME, that's where all those great selling R&B records were made. We grew up, like 15 minutes down the street and it was the first time we ever got the chance to go record there, and it was amazing. You know, it hadn't changed. There's ghosts or spirits in that place that you're just, this is hallowed ground that I'm standing on, that's something that I'll never forget and I hope to go back and do some more work there. I'm actually extremely happy that it's a live thing. I think nowadays there's so much trickery in record making, that you can really shine up a turd pretty quick. So, I hope people are seeing that's just real music, that's just people with their instruments in a room together. It was a blast man, and I'm happy that's what people are hearing first. I just hope it comes across honest, that's more important to me than a record. Do the same kinda intro thing? - You can just introduce the song. - Okay, this one's called "Only You. " Baby, I'm burning, yearning inside I can't get you off my mind I got a fever, it's 110 Ah shit, I'm gonna do one more time. There's parts in people's voice that I always think that is special, that is bigger than me, that is unobtainable. There's this run in Aretha Franklin's song "Angel" where she goes super high and then falls down and like screams and you're like yes, I know it. I think that snapshot is like seeing the greatest part of somebody's personality come out. That's quintessential music for me, I think it's really special. It's 110 You're my only, only medicine Only you Only you Oh baby, I want you Only you will do So the full length record is called Delilah. The songs from the Muscle Shoals sessions are gonna be on there, but I actually recorded other songs in the studio, like other than that. I'm really happy with it. It's a bunch of love songs, sad and happy, that you know all hopefully feel pretty good. I'm going crazy, baby, it's true Oh, that I want you; only you will do Only you Only you Baby, I want you Only you will do Cause I've been waiting for so long, I've grown tired of feeling like I'm in this world all alone Only you Only you Oh baby, I want you Only you will do Only you Only you Baby, I want you I'm telling you that only you will do Everybody can always agree, like a good simple love song, you can feel something. Always needing a little more of something. And sometimes everything ain't feeling right, and you've just got to keep on looking for it. You feel alive, man, you feel alive. And that's all it is man, it's just stories of emotions really. I sipped the finest brandy, smelt as sweet as perfume I kissed the softest lips, but even they wouldn't do I drove the Autoban, in a Coupe Deville Climbed Kilimanjaro, it was just a hill Now it's gonna take more, more, more To satisfy me Satisfy me I always say it's hopefully highly listenable. Hopefully it's fun, hopefully it's honest. Just as fine as they come But you're a selfish little lover, hot and cold, hit and run Oh got PHD and TLC, and theres so many fish in the sea Now it's gonna take more, more, more To satisfy me Oh, to satisfy me I did that acoustic solo stuff for years and years, but on this tour I got the full band, it's a lot of fun. I like dancing a lot, and getting sweaty and all that. And we're starting this tour with Brandy Carlisle, I'm just excited to be a music fan and get to see that show every night. More, more, more More, more, more It's gonna take more Goin' take more Goin' take more To satisfy me Oh, to satisfy me Satisfy me Oh, to satisfy me Oh, satisfy - Hey this is Anderson East and you are watching Baebel Music.
Anderson East (born Mike Anderson) is an American rhythm and blues/pop musician from Athens, Alabama, now based in Nashville, Tennessee.