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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Edward David Anderson performs Aug. 23 at Joliet’s Hopstring Fest

Ed with Johnny Hickman 7-31-14, Castle Theatre
By Ted Slowik

Fresh off the release of his debut full-length solo album, American songwriter Edward David Anderson performs on Hopstring Fest’s mainstage from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, in Joliet’s Silver Cross Field.

Tickets for the 12 and a half hour celebration of live music, food and craft beer are $20/presale, $30 at the door and are available through and at Chicago Street Pub, 75 N. Chicago St., Joliet. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Anderson has shared stages with Hopstring Fest headliners Cracker previously, most recently on July 31 at The Castle Theatre in Bloomington, where friend and Cracker guitarist Johnny Hickman joined Ed onstage for his set.

He performed two mainstage sets at the 2013 Hopstring Fest, one as a solo artist and another with the band Magic Box.

Best known for his work with Backyard Tire Fire, who released a string of acclaimed albums in the previous decade, Anderson in April released his solo debut, “Lies & Wishes.” The 10-track collection was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos.
Anderson was born and raised just west of Chicago and lives a simple life, spending winters in an RV alongside the Gulf of Mexico in lower Alabama. He says he’s on an existential quest to find meaning through song.  
"I feel like every experience, every mile, every interaction, every tune, sort of got me to where I am at this moment," Anderson says on his website. "The songs on the record are confessional by nature. They are songs about loss and love and living and hope. Halfway through my life, it's an honest look in the mirror."
Anderson's journey over the last five years and his response to the challenges he faced is what sets the lifers apart from those that concede the artistic pursuit. The dissolution of Backyard Tire in 2011 was the first obstacle to overcome. The band had built a devout cult following around the U.S., counting Cracker, Reverend Horton Heat and Clutch among their fans, all of whom took BTF on the road exposing them to a wider audience. It was around this time that Steve Berlin of Los Lobos was first drawn to Anderson's songwriting.
“Backyard Tire Fire opened a show for us and I remember being backstage and listening to their music and I was like, ‘Wow, that song sounds really familiar. Whose cover is that? It’s a classic tune,’” says Berlin. “It turns out that they were all Ed’s originals. They just had that instantly memorable quality to them. So, I introduced myself at the show and we became buddies and then collaborators. Ed’s music is so evocative, so well written. I honestly think he is as talented as anyone in the songwriting world and it is important that he be heard.”
Anderson adds: "I was just starting to get back on the road again after Tire Fire split, touring with my friend Johnny Hickman and I got inspired to get back in the studio. I had these songs and had something pretty interesting to say based on the experiences I just went through. I knew if I could get Steve Berlin involved, who is an old friend that I’ve worked with in the past, it could be something special.”
It was just prior to this that Anderson's mother passed away, while the previous winter his wife lost her mother, both to extended illnesses. It was a defining moment for the 40-year old artist and culminated in a torrent of songwriting. Indeed, songs like "Lies & Wishes" "Lost & Found" and "Chain Reaction" delve deep into the human condition, asking difficult questions of both himself and his loved ones. 
“A lot of the subject matter on this record came from reflecting on these painful experiences” says Anderson. "After losing my mom, I decided I’ve got to make a record and dedicate it to her and make a statement here on my own. I feel like it's undoubtedly my finest work to date, the beginning of the next chapter for me."
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If You Go
What: Hopstring Fest
When: Saturday, Aug. 23, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Where: Silver Cross Field, 1 Mayor Art Schultz Drive, Joliet
Who: Local talent and headline bands like Cracker
How much: Tickets are $20 presale/$30 at the door