Eric Andersen The Shadow and the Light
Submitted by Don Graham
Eric Andersen, one of the founding fathers of the great American Folk Family, continues to evolve and reinvent himself. It’s as though he has an unquenchable thirst to create new works and adapt the works of other literary icons of the past. For me that is the mark of a true artist, constantly moving the finish line and looking for new ways to express himself and not fearful of taking the great works of others and translating them into song in his own undeniable fashion.
And that is just what he has done with Albert Camus, the great French-Algerian 20th Century philosopher. The paintings of Oliver Jordan were what first inspired Eric to reinvestigate the works of Albert Camus which in turn inspired him to write the songs for The Shadow and the Light album. Camus, whose productivity was from 1935 until his tragic demise in a car wreck in 1960, was similar to Eric in that they both sought the truth in their words.
Andersen managed to take the text of Camus and expertly transform them into four songs; The Plague,( Song of Denial) The Stranger, (Song of Revenge) The Rebel (Song of Revolt) and The Fall (Song of Gravity). Kind of like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Each song is haunting in its content and production with the sincere, honest vocals that have become Eric’s stock in trade.
These songs are about the truth. “The Stranger”, “The Rebel” and “The Fall”, are most indicative of Camus take on life, his existetionalism of Camus' philosophy on life, looking at the cold, hard truth about oneself. Camus not long before he passed alluded to the fact that he had lived his entire life as a lie and needed to create a new truth.
The opening song, "The Plague" is a call to action and a warning, harsh as it may be, of the impending doom, of death and disease. The way things are going around the world it is a prophetic work.
The second track “The Stranger”, is along the lines of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” as the subject wanders through the post Apocalypse world bloodied but not beaten. Ready to rise.
“The Rebel” is a little less dark as the philosophy of Camus’ that life is absurd and ultimately meaningless is championed with the haunting repetition of “Rebel, Rebel, Rebel” even if it seems pointless, rebel. And in today’s current political climate this work is even more relevant. As Twisted Sister said “We’re Not Going To Take It Anymore ”.
And finally, the denoument of the album, The Fall, almost whispered by Andersen as the narrator, looks back on his journey and the path he took to get there. A perfect way to end the collection.
As Eric Andersen reaches back to the past to chronicle the works of past masters I can’t help but think that a hundred years from now a young writer will do likewise with the works of Eric Andersen. Keep mingling with THE universe Eric, can’t wait to see what’s next.
The album is available on Meyer Records
For more information visit www.ericandersen.com