“I ain’t exactly been feeling like myself these days,” sings Carl Anderson on the introspective “Roses,” the lead single from his newly announced EP, You Can Call Me Carl. Despite the alluring melody, Anderson finds himself stuck in a rut with all of his good luck beginning to run dry.
With the clever idiom “everything was coming up roses” as the linchpin, Anderson’s self-deprecating wit shines despite — or perhaps because of — the run of bad luck coming his way. There’s a tongue-in-cheek touch that comes with Anderson’s velvety vocals and able wordplay.
You Can Call Me Carl was created by a rough and trying time for Anderson, who moved to Nashville soon after getting married. Roughly a year later, the marriage was on the rocks.
“There for a while, I was thinking that I’d be spending the rest of my life with this person,” says Anderson. “I feel like I was believing in this fantasy and seeing what I wanted. Looking back though, I realized I was ignoring all these red flags that were being thrown down by me and my ex.”
Even while “Roses” finds Anderson slipping into sorrow, he doesn’t dwell there. The lush and dreamy soundscape, while overcast at times, exudes an underlying hopeful resilience.
“It’s sort of like becoming aware that the relationship you’re in is doomed in some way, but you’re also seeing that you’ve turned some things around,” says Anderson. “It’s strange though. Once you get beyond all the pain and sadness, you feel you can almost do anything. There’s nothing left to lose now. It’s amazing the little bits of happiness you can find in that.”
Anderson returned to his home state of Virginia to record You Can Call Me Carl, an EP of Seventies folk tinges, wistful bedroom pop and melancholic country heartache. Teaming up with songwriter and producer Chris Keup at White Star, a renovated barn-turned-studio located outside Charlottesville, they enlisted a stellar backing band of Charlie Hall (The War on Drugs), Phil Cook (Hiss Golden Messenger), Daniel Clarke (Ryan Adams) and Rick Holstrom (Mavis Staples).
“I still like the idea of getting out and making a record somewhere and going to a place where you’re not seeing all the familiar places,” says Anderson. “We all sort of moved in for about 10 days. It’s very intentional. You fall into a bit of a state of mind knowing you’re there for a specific project.”
You Can Call Me Carl is out May 31st.