Few artists capture the folksy warmth and rain-swept beauty of the Pacific Northwest as eloquently as singer/songwriter Christopher Brant Anderson. Anderson's supple acoustic guitars speak a language all of their own. Whether they're striving for campfire intimacy or bristling with a melancholic ache, they live and breathe and cast an indelible spell. On his latest album Gravity & Time
, Anderson sings of a life lived and love lost with the calm acceptance and youthful vigor of a man who has been through it all but gained wisdom from his experiences.
Anderson opens the record with a cover of John Martyn
's 1980 heartbreaker, Sweet Little Mystery." The track details the aftermath of a breakup with uncompromisingly sad lyrics. Martyn was in serious pain because of a failing marriage at the time the song was written for his LP Grace & Danger
. However, Anderson manages to soften the blow with his velvety smooth vocals. It's still a bitter pill to swallow but Anderson's comforting delivery a glimpse of hope it never had.
Two of the album's most compelling tracks are illuminated by renowned jazz pianist Barney McClure
, who actually appears on four cuts. The gently swaying rhythm of Quarter Heart Time" is well suited for McClure's light touch. Woman Like You" is a stunningly beautiful work. McClure's tinkling piano provides a crystalline backdrop for McClure's soulful vocals.
Anderson's mix of blues, jazz, and classic rock is reminiscent of Chris Rea
at times; his voice also has echoes of Roxy Music
's Bryan Ferry
. But despite similarities to British album-rock icons, the heart of Anderson's music is in folk. However, the plush romanticism of Under the Covers" and Richard Carpenter's elegiac violin in the instrumental Barbara's Garden" transcends genre.
The title of the record seems to refer to the passage of years and the effect they will have on all of us; sooner or later, we will all fall to Gravity & Time
. But that doesn't mean we can't soar before then, and when Anderson takes flight, he reaches the heavens on the wings of breathtaking melodies.