Lauren Anderson – Love on the Rocks
Self-Produced – 20210
9 Tracks; 30 minutes
After the first ten seconds of Lauren Anderson’s new album, Love on the Rocks, you’ll recognize the acoustical power that indicates the singer has operatic training. The acapella beginning to the first track makes it clear that Anderson could probably be heard in a large venue unamplified, and she has a beautiful tone and resonance to her voice.
Anderson, who also plays guitar, sounds very similar to Janis Joplin on the second track, “Love on the Rocks”. Her musicians include Matt Doctor on Drums, Hutch on Bass, Jimi Greene on Guitar, and Kiran Gupta on keys/organ. She then joins with award-winning blues-rocker Mike Zito for an energetic “Back to Chicago”.
This is the second album for Anderson, who earned a master’s degree in music therapy, and worked for seven years as a music therapist with at-risk youth before deciding she had to move to Nashville and devote herself full time to her music. The therapy background is evident in some of her lyrics. For example, “Holdin’ Me Down” discusses the self-defeating tendency most single people have, as far as returning frequently to the same person who somehow manages to hold them back. (A theme that is later repeated in “I’m Done”.) Somewhat unusual for blues-rock songs are the strings added to “Holdin’ Me Down” (played by Jon and Liz Estes). Yet, they seem perfectly placed.
Anderson slows it down at the end of the album for “Your Turn,” but the beauty and power of her vocals are consistent throughout every track. There is no real flaw on this album, but there is one purely rock song, with no obvious blues influence. The lyrics of that song are so meaningful to women, however, that even female blues purists will likely love it. It discusses the double standard applied to women suggesting they are only worthy when they are young: “Is my life over after 35? Should I quit now? …I see you trying to ignore me cause I’m no longer a nine, but I ain’t going nowhere I’m like a damn fine wine…should I dial it back some? That man looks uncomfortable.”
Overall, this excellent sophomore effort will make you want to run to hear Lauren Anderson play live, so you can say you “saw her when” (before she becomes a household name).