Review: An American Treasure, Andrew Landers Tells Our Stories on ‘Whereabouts’

It’s a tour of America that begins in the “City of Roses,” veers over to “Boston,” dips south for “Kentucky Wine” and a “Good Mississippi Day.” There’s an Irish drinking song and a little gospel, too. Andrew Landers dropped his album Whereabouts on a standing room only house October 7 at Louie G’s in Fife. He appeared with his band Mainstreet Struggleville and gave the crowd a joyful taste of his America packed into the new collection.

The nod to Seattle’s rain pulls in a sample of “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” and a gravelly defiance. “Bring the Rain” also has a banjo, horns and a call for hidden miracles. It’s a rockin’ anthem where trombone player Jimmy Lee gets to shine.

“Over half the record is filled with songs about the cities I love and some that just surprised me,” Landers said in a recent interview. “It is very much still that Americana grass-roots vibe with a narrative.”

Acoustic, stripped down or full-on big band, the album is wrapped in all the nuances of American music with a variety that keeps it interesting, fun and also heartwarming. The last song, “Hurricane,” a prayer for his son, is heartbreaking and expresses everything a parent feels when faced with a child’s medical challenges. It’s a haunting call for help, for hope, for love.

Landers refers to himself as a corduroy troubadour and he definitely looks the part, but his clear vision, voice and storytelling, along with amazing musicianship are beyond the typical singer-songwriter genre. He’s a world class musician who’s shared the stage with BB King, The Black Crowes, Jen Chapin, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Gaelic Storm, REO Speedwagon, John Prine, and so many more. I’d put him on par with Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan for speaking to our collective experiences. Landers reveals truths about himself through his characters, and therefore, shows us who we are.

“I’m so thankful music has giving me a voice to speak into and embrace the culture around me,” he said. “Most corduroy troubadours don’t get the opportunities I have, and for that I am blessed.”

The depth and breadth of this collection of songs is deep, rich and connects us all with his honesty. After all, Andrew Landers couldn’t be any other way. The simplicity of the music, he said, brings clarity and “clarity invites us into change. We need change in the world, more kindness, more hope, more courage to fall into the things that matter most. I get to do what I love. That’s not lost on me today.”

Whereabouts was recorded at Reflection Recording in Olympia and engineered by Kerry Gansberg.

Click HERE to visit the Mainstreet Struggleville website to purchase and/or listen to the album.

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