Blue Man? Local Americana up-and-comer explains his twenty-something woes

Isn't it a little too soon for a twenty-something to have the blues? Not so, says local bluegrass guitarist Carl Anderson, whose premiere solo EP, 20 Something Blues, came out February 18. The musician, known locally for his previous duo with Carleigh Nesbit, a band, Pine Radio, and a more recent stint in Ted Pitney's band, the Roosevelts, stumbled into his early twenties with an aching–- for music, for freedom, for direction. And, as so many greats do, he channeled that angst into art, resulting in a tender, acoustic, americana and roots collection of songs. But what does the twenty-something blues look like? Anderson, 23, breaks it down for us:

On 20 Something Blues:
"I was living in a little room on the Downtown Mall with a friend. I'd been so broke, trying to play music the last couple of years, and as a way of describing my frustrated way of living, I started going to Nashville and writing songs. I wrote most of the songs in the middle of last year [at age 22], and it sort of all came out of pure frustration with a strange way of living, trying to build a career out of songwriting. All the songs center around waiting for something to happen."

On band versus solo:
"Towards the end of the duo with Carleigh, I began writing quite a bit independently. I'd been planning on making a solo record for awhile, so it all happened so naturally. I just realized that it was really difficult to arrange rehearsals for a band, difficult to deal with five or six people's schedules. I wasn't willing to deal with that anymore. I surround myself with musicians that I can call on short notice to come and play with me. Playing with Carleigh felt like I was constricted stylistically in what I could do. It's better to have stepped away from all that."

On his role models:
"My favorite bands are completely independent of industry standards and record labels. Joe Pug is a good example of making it work; he's outside of the mainstream, outside of the industry, he's all over the place, someone any artist could aspire to emulate. Anyone's capable of making it work, as long as they're not afraid to never be at home. It takes sacrificing."

On the local scene:
"I think the local scene is coming together a bit more than it has in the past–- everyone's really friendly, there's no real competitiveness. Everyone can book shows. In Nashville, there's a real underlying competition, so people don't talk to each other as much–- you've got to fight for shows there, which is probably why I'm not moving to Nashville. The scene here is pretty tight-knit. I'm the youngest in Ted's band, and he's been hugely influential to me in the last year."

On the future:
"I certainly believe in my songs. Playing music is my only marketable skill–- I'm not really fit for a straight job. It's the only thing that's even come naturally to me, and it's clear that it's really what I need to be doing."
Carl Anderson released his EP, Twenty Something Blues, on Friday, February 18 at the Southern Cafe and Music Hall. On the same night, Sam Wilson released his sophomore solo record, Late Nights and Lonely Hearts. Event link.

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