One can be forgiven for getting the wrong impression of Anderson East, at least until the music kicks in. On the surface, everything about him is country/Americana: He’s toured with Sturgill Simpson and is out with Chris Stapleton. His producer, Dave Cobb, has recorded Simpson, Stapleton and Jason Isbell. He has lived in Nashville for more than a decade. His major label debut, Delilah, came out on Cobb’s imprint, Low Country Sound.
But don’t think the twang of Nashville; think the soul of Memphis. East’s music is soul, gospel, funk and R&B, his voice murky but huge, his horn section on full throttle. And his next album, still untitled, will be supported by a tour that displays all of this.
“It’s going to show the world the true power and fury of Anderson East,” his agent, Paradigm Talent Agency’s Jonathan Levine, told Pollstar. “Anderson is truly undeniable live.”
True to that, Rolling Stone called East’s performance “smoldering” when he played his new single, “All On My Mind” (co-written by Ed Sheeran), on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Following January gigs in New York and Nashville, the extensive tour will kick off in Dallas Feb. 8 and run through May 18.
East and Levine have had a surprising background. Levine, Paradigm’s resident kickass drummer, was setting up a P.A. in his live music room shortly after moving to Nashville in 2012 and recruited Dave Cobb for help. Cobb brought along a guy who was working as a recording engineer.
“When they were leaving, Dave pointed at the guy and said, ‘Remember him. He’s going to show up on your radar and you’re going to thank me for this introduction,’” Levine said.
Jump cut to 2014 and Levine is getting pitched an artist by Jamey Johnson’s manager, Beau Boggs.
“Wait a minute,” Levine said. “Does this guy have dishwater blond hair, blue eyes, northern Alabama, hangs out with Dave Cobb?”
And the rest, as they say. Since then, that young fellow is preparing for center stage.
“Beau Boggs makes reference to Anderson being the Cassius Clay Vocal Heavyweight Champion of the World,” Levine said. “I just go straight to Muhammad Ali.”