Heart of a Dog
Artist: Kasey Anderson and the Honkies
Produced by: Red River Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Every once in a while, I get offered the chance to review a band I may never have listened to before creating this website. I mean, let’s face it, if you listen to mainstream music on the radio, you rarely have the opportunity to listen to many of the artists I’ve been introduced to since helping to create G-POP.net. Take, for instance, Kasey Anderson and the Honkies - I may never have even heard of this band prior to the creation of this website much less have received the opportunity to check out their new album, Heart of a Dog, scheduled for release February 12, 2011.
Kasey Anderson and the Honkies is a four member band based out of Seattle and Portland. Kasey Anderson supplies vocals, guitars and percussion for the band and creates the lyrics for their songs. Andrew McKeag, a 20-year veteran of the Seattle music scene, supplies vocals and guitars. Eric Corson brings in the bass while power-pop/indie rock band veteran Mike Musburger performs on the drums. Various musical guests were invited to perform on Heart of a Dog, including Ralph Huntley, Jenny Conlee, Garth Klippert, Lewi Longmire, and David Lipkind. The resulting sound is pure rock and roll with some bluesy tendencies.
Heart of a Dog starts off with The Wrong Light, a track that contains a beat, guitar riff and vocal delivery reminiscent of George Thorogood and the Destroyers’ Bad to the Bone. This is followed up by nine more tracks alternating between a hard rocking fun and a soulful bluesy rock sound. Each track contains well-written lyrics rich with metaphorical meanings. Each song tells a story, as many song do, but Anderson’s lyrics do much more - they paint a picture as in the song Exit Ghost: “Nobody told you you’d be worried like this / a balled up fist / hoping everything’d be okay / Are you shaking when you make that list / of the people you’d miss / Don’t you start to feel afraid.” You can actually picture the individual Anderson is singing to in this song.
The entire album is filled with songs that tell stories of love, heartache, a cry for mercy and redemption - basically a number of life experiences put down in lyrics and set to music. The music is on point in this album offering up just the right rocking guitar riffs and percussions for each set of lyrics. Anderson’s vocal delivery is quite reminiscent of Uncle Kracker or Kid Rock - a sort of gruffly melodic rock and roll/country/blues delivery that works perfectly with the style of music found on the album.
Heart of a Dog was named after a Mikhail Bulgakov novella which Kasey Anderson believes describes the entire album experience, quoting this passage in particular: “By kindness. The only method possible in dealing with living creatures. By terror you cannot get anywhere with an animal, no matter what its stage of development. I've always asserted this, I assert it today, and I shall go on asserting it. They are wrong thinking that terror will help them.”
Anderson has described the creation of this album as basically a well-designed jam session: “I wanted to make a rock 'n' roll record with my friends. I wanted to write ten good songs, put everyone in a room, and roll tape. So that's what we did. We played a song until we got a take we liked, then we moved on to the next; didn't usually take too long. In between takes, we laughed a lot and talked about records, politics, and baseball (in that order). That's the way it's supposed to work, right? You make art you're proud of and you have a good time doing it…” As you listen to the album, there is no doubt that all involved in its creation had a whole lot of fun and the songs produced are that much better thanks to this creative process.
Heart of a Dog by Kasey Anderson and the Honkies is an album well-worth the 2011 release date. However, if you really want to listen to some of the music I’ve been raving about, visit the band’s website and check out the tracks they’ve posted there. You’ll become an instant fan!