In the ever-burgeoning list of tired sub-genres of rock music, alt. country has to be nearing the top. Since Uncle Tupelo’s insurgency in the early ’90s, the genre’s sound has become progressively insular, casting off most of its initial punk fervor and highlighting the singer/songwriter. In most cases, there’s little to distinguish an Americana performer from the country-tinged “lite” rock on adult contemporary radio.
Kasey Anderson easily falls into this crowd, writing songs about girls with tickets to California, heeding grandparents’ advice, looking to the Lord for guidance in these trying times, blah blah blah… They’re all themes completely recycled from their source material and hardly noteworthy unless you think acts like John Mellencamp and Train are bastions of innovation. Anderson also includes the staid “rockers” “5th Avenue Queen” and “Dead Roses (and Blood Red Wine)”; both are replete with limping riffs and requisite “hot” guitar solos.
In Anderson’s press release, he makes the claim that he “isn’t reinventing the wheel… [that] the key isn’t so much to have your audience saying ‘I never thought of that!’ it’s to have them saying, ‘I never thought of it that way.'” Of course he couldn’t be more wrong. There are alt. country bands out there — Knife in the Water, for example — who are nuturing the growth of the genre. Anderson’s assumption that the audience wants only slightly tweaked variants of rehashed familiarity is insulting. It’s a prime example of why record executives are still looking for “the next Nirvana” even after fourteen years.
Kasey Anderson: www.kaseyanderson.com