Jason Anderson The Wreath

[K; 2005]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: uplifting campfire pop, singer/songwriter
Others: Wolf Colonel, Mount Eerie, Little Wings, Calvin Johnson

I remember seeing Jason Anderson (while he was still under the Wolf Colonel moniker) for the first time do a little show at the University of Idaho. The performance wasn't up on a stage; it was right in front of the rows of chairs, of which about 30 or 40 were filled. After his first couple songs, he asked everyone to cast aside their seats and sit criss-cross applesauce, as if around a campfire. Having happened, he started to tune his guitar, stopped for a moment, looked up, smiled, and said something to the effect of, "Wow, this is really nice." Though he most likely traded "awesome" for "nice," it was this first encounter which lay the brickwork for how I have received him ever since.

Anderson has taken a few steps since his Wolf Colonel days. With his most recent, The Wreath, sincerity and authenticity seem to evoke his guitar and piano, or perhaps it's the other way around. A lone horn echoes the solitary reminiscence of "If I'm Waiting" while on tracks like "Oh, Jac!," "Theory and Practice," and "My Balancing Act," Rachael Jensen offers beautiful backing vocals that parallel Anderson's somewhat forlorn frame of mind. And while the acoustic set does lend itself to the sad bastard vein of things, Anderson is able to extend himself beyond languorous self-pity and search for the answers to his woes, recollecting the small things in life. The rock tracks "Citizen's Arrest" and "Our Winter" offer a welcome break in the slower pace of The Wreath.

It is hard to write about Jason Anderson as a singer/songwriter. It is easier to posit him as an entity rather than a person. We all have those in our lives who manage to remain positive no matter the circumstances, and we sometimes wonder how all the good feelings and sentiments are so easily shed. While The Wreath may not be straightforward feel-good music, introspection seems to be the key. If Anderson teaches us anything with The Wreath, it's that if you are alright with yourself, then you have no reason to be wrong with anything else.

1. O Jac!
2. If I'm Waiting
3. Citizen's Arrest
4. Theory And Practice
5. My Balancing Act
6. Library, The
7. Our Winter
8. I Was Wrong
9. Hospital, The
10. When Will You Say

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