Kasey Anderson

Nowhere Nights

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Kasey Anderson includes a sleeve note on his fifth album, Nowhere Nights, that expresses the theme of the record. "I lived in Bellingham, Washington, for eight years," he writes, "five years longer than I should have and two years longer than I wanted to." Now returned to his hometown of Portland, OR, Anderson is providing his version of Goodbye to All That here, recalling his friends, who congregated around the 3B tavern until it closed in 2006. (That's when he wanted to leave, but didn't.) The 3B even gets name-checked in "Torn Apart," but that's not to say that, without the emendation, the listener necessarily would have understood what Anderson was getting at exactly. His wordy songs, set to country-rock arrangements, are long on rhetoric but short on specifics. Love seems to have let him down, and liquor seems to have been involved, but the stories aren't really much more detailed than that. And yet they go on and on, sometimes to a length of six or seven minutes, verse after verse of disappointment and desperation. And, if anything, time seems to run in reverse. The album starts with "Bellingham Blues," in which Anderson begins, "This ain't never been my home," apparently on his way out of town. It ends with "Real Gone," in which he still seems to be thinking of leaving, but hasn't done so yet. All of this is expressed in Anderson's twangy accent, which is dangerously similar to that of the Texas-born Steve Earle, though his voice has a gruffer timbre. Maybe in Portland the singer/songwriter will encounter a true love who will sober him up and teach him to edit and focus his songwriting. (Indeed, in his sleeve note, he suggests he has found love and will sing about it next time.)

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