Hawks and Doves and the return of Kasey Anderson
Sometimes only friends can give you the truth the way you need to hear it.
BJ Barham was heading through Portland and he met up with his buddy, Kasey Anderson. Anderson was a rising star on the Americana / Alt-Country scene until a two-year stint in federal prison for federal wire fraud put a halt to everything.
Upon his release, Anderson’s goals weren’t to get a band together and get back into the studio and then on the road. As far as he was concerned, his days in music were over.
“I didn’t expect to make another record after I went to prison,” said Anderson, who got puzzled looks from friends when he told them of his intention to leave his music behind.
Barham gave more than a puzzled look.
“Well, what else are you good at, dude?” he asked.
“I want to work with kids, I want to work with addicts in recovery and people recovering from mental illness,” Anderson responded.
“That’s great, but there’s no such thing as too many good songs.”
Anderson agreed, and after getting a similar push from producer-engineer-guitarist Jordan Richter and author / musician Peter Ames Carlin, he started to dip his toes in musical waters once again. It started with some local gigs, then soon he was in the studio with Richter, writing songs.
“When we got far enough along, I thought, ‘Okay, maybe this is something I want people to hear,’” Anderson said. “I got to the point where I was proud enough of the songs that I felt I had something to say that wasn’t being said, at least not in the way that I was able to say it.”
Last month, Anderson’s band, Hawks and Doves, released their first album, From a White Hotel. And it’s good. Better than good. Good enough to where we should be glad Anderson’s friends dragged him back. As for the man himself, he’s happy with the album.
“It’s really different,” he said. “If people hear it and they like it, great. If they don’t, it’s not something I ever expected to happen to begin with, so I’m not gonna be crushed by it.”
But it does feel good to be back on the mic, guitar in hand.
“Once it was done, I felt like, okay, I’m still good at this, I still know how to do this. I didn’t reinvent the wheel and I didn’t invent a new way to talk about what’s going on. I just felt like I did it in a way that’s a little more personal and easier to connect to individual people and a little less rhetorical than a lot of the writing that’s being done.”
In other words, it’s real, and that’s something important for Anderson, because there’s even more weight behind his words and experiences given where he’s traveled and the road he’s still on. And he doesn’t shy away from addressing any of it, on record or in interviews.
“If I was gonna put something out, I was gonna do press and if I was gonna do press, I was gonna talk about what happened and I didn’t want to pretend that I hadn’t committed a crime and gone to prison and been diagnosed with bi-polar and gone back into rehab and all that stuff,” he said.
For most, reliving the worst time of your life over and over would be a struggle. It’s not for Anderson.
“It’s good for me to connect to that and to continue to be reminded and remind myself of what I did and the price that I paid for it and the price that my family and friends paid for it and the people who were victimized and taken advantage of by me. It’s good to not get too far away from that. I’m better off if I’m more connected to everything I learned from that experience and the ways that I’ve grown.”
And now, he won’t just be entertaining, he’ll be educating, and giving a ray of hope to those dealing with everything he has and does.
“If people hear this record and respond to it, then I’ll be really fortunate and I’ll get a second chance to state my case as someone who has something to say, and whose songs are worth listening to and reading,” Anderson said. “But it’s really important for me to be able to present this stuff in such a way that maybe it’s a little bit easier for people to understand so even if they don’t empathize with me personally, I’m sure there’s somebody else in their life who would love to be understood.”
For more information on Hawks and Doves, click here