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Jason Anderson 

The Wreath

Wednesday, Feb 2 2005
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Once, in a dank back music room of a venue, hidden on the wrong side of the tracks in Denton, Texas, a town only the Mountain Goats sing fondly of, Jason Anderson closed his set with an a cappella R. Kelly cover. This happened exactly 43 minutes after the bearded, pencil-thin, and baseball-capped Anderson borrowed an acoustic guitar from one of the other bands on the bill; it happened exactly 42 minutes after he got up on a chair in the middle of the room and had the night's showgoers assemble around him; and it happened about 41 minutes after he proceeded to cite pop-culture references, nasally croon about love gained and lost, and orchestrate complex handclaps and harmonies with the crowd. On The Wreath, Anderson is every bit as captivating as when he's playing troubadour to wide-eyed Texas kids. It's a record full of joyous guitars and moody pianos and sloppy drums, on which the songwriter espouses the idea that it's OK to be happy, in spite of your demons, sometimes perhaps even because of them. Best of all, however, is the fact that no matter how philosophical Anderson gets, he never takes any of it too seriously.

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Abigail Clouseau

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