The rare troubadour touches rock and roll with the depth and candor and scope of Anders Parker.
He entered the scene in the mid 90’s when a 4-track recording he made in his Portland, OR apartment, titled Man of Sin, got passed around. Doing it himself and his way and with the energy that album had to offer, Parker formed a band and began walking a trail that has defined his life. As the leader/songwriter/guitarist/multi-instrumentalist and under the moniker Varnaline, Parker toured, eventually released 5 albums under that name. Parker entered the indie lexicon.
As all things do, Varnaline ran its course, beginning phase two of Anders artistry, releasing albums under his own name. Tell It To The Dust and Anders Parker (s/t) set about to give air to Parkers unsettling need to explore genres, pushing forward his even more intensely weathered views on life and love. Skyscraper Crow is a double album exploring electronic instruments on one album, acoustic instrument on the other — dualities and double meanings, abstraction and fixed stars. With Cross Latitudes, Parker released his first fully instrumental album of electric guitar pieces. There’s A Bluebird In My Heart tracks back to formal songwriting veering from ballads to scorched earth rock.
Also in the mix and adding to his pedigree, a chance to put Woody Guthrie lyrics to music came around, resulting in New Multitudes. Alongside Jim James, Jay Farrar and Will Johnson (all tour mates individually, and as a collective) Parker soared on songs such as “Angels Blues” and “Old L.A.” and “Fly High” to great acclaim.
Not to belabor the many faces of Parker, yet to be mentioned also is a record of duets with Kendall Meade under the name Anders & Kendall. He was a member of the experimental rock band Space Needle. And he made an album of traditional folk songs with Jay Farrar under the moniker Gob Iron.
2017: Anders has once again decided it’s time to explore. To ruminate. To question things. The idea of a sparse record, one with string trio, pedal steel, acoustic guitar and voice, nothing else, was there to be mined. Titled The Man Who Fell From Earth, Parker quietly explodes with orchestration layered over his classically dark lyrics, hinting at new love and even more questions about the universe and our place in it all. Truly a stunning album from start to finish, it is the beginning of yet another phase in this outrageously gifted songwriters life.