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Blue River

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iTunes Review

Always an expressively poetic songwriter, Eric Andersen displayed a greater sense of musical focus on this release, thanks in part to producer Norbert Putnam’s tasteful blend of folk, country and rock instrumental textures. Anderson offers beautifully drawn character portraits and acute observations about the human heart, matching them with bittersweet melodies. His wistful tenor is in strong shape, adding to the battered romanticism captured in “Is It Really Love At All,” “Faithful” and “Sheila.” “Wind and Sand” and “Round the Bend” probe the bonds between families and friends with a sensitive, empathetic touch. The upbeat “Pearl’s Goodtime Blues” sketches Janis Joplin in vivid, loving strokes. Two songs especially stand out in this set: “More Often Than Not” (an ode to human endurance with the scruffy charm of an outlaw country classic) and the title song (a gospel-rock number reminiscent of the Band, featuring Joni Mitchell on background vocals). Blue River remains Andersen’s most fully-realized album, as well as one of the best singer/songwriter releases of its era.


Born: 14 February 1943 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Eric Andersen has maintained a career as a folk-based singer/songwriter since the 1960s. In contrast to such peers as Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs, Andersen's writing has had a romantic/philosophical/poetic bent for the most part, rather than a socially conscious one, though one of his best-known songs, "Thirsty Boots," is about the Freedom Riders in the early '60s. (The song has been recorded by Judy Collins and others.) After emerging from the Northeast folk-club circuit, Andersen began to record...
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Blue River, Eric Andersen
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