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Edward David Anderson Giddy About 'Black Dirt Revival'

Edward David Anderson
Edward David Anderson

Edward David Anderson has been flying solo as a folk/country/rock artist since Backyard Tire Fire announced an "indefinite hiatus" in 2011.  With two critically acclaimed albums since 2014 and a touring  schedule that keeps his cars odometer spinning, the multi-instrumental Anderson has found his sea legs post-BTF.  But he didn't find them overnight.

"I think there was a little of 'what am I going to now, for sure, yeah.' Right after the band imploded, Cody (Diekhoff, aka Chicago Farmer) and I started playing more shows together, and he would probably say he got an inebriated earful of 'what am I going to now?'" laughed Anderson.

While playing with Diekhoff and other solo performers, he became a keen observer of their stage shows and slowly incorporated bits of their performance tricks as he was reinvented himself as Edward David Anderson.

"It was kind of funny, because when Cody was in high school, he would come to see me play," said Anderson.  "And here I was getting ideas from him all these years later on how to do this by myself."

When he makes a return appearance at The Castle Theater in Bloomington, IL November 18, Anderson will have Black Dirt Revival alongside him.  If that name doesn't ring a bell, Anderson said it shouldn't.  It's essentially a bunch of old buddies he picked up when asked to play the "Blues at the Crossroads" festival in Terra Haute, Indiana in September.  The promoter wanted him, but with a full band.

"So I put together this band and we headlined this festival.  It was a huge amount of people; I think 8000 people attended.  We had never played a show together.   We had one rehearsal together the night before, and we just KILLED it," said Anderson.

With Anderson in Black Dirt Revival for the Indiana show was drummer Jon Ganser, known throughout central Illinois for his work in bands including The Something Brothers, The Spelunkers, and currently the avant-garde jazz quartet Inktrail.  LaSalle-Peru bassist Brandon Dyer and Anderson's old friend Andrew Weir on keys rounded out the foursome for the supposed one-off.

But when the show exceeded Anderson's expectations, he decided to give "Black Dirt" another whirl at what will essentially be his farewell date at The Castle Theater before he morphs back into Edward David Anderson to continue his tour.  But E.D.A. fans will get a solo component at The Castle Theater show.

"It's going to be an interesting evening for me, I've always wanted to do a night like this," said Anderson.  "It's kind of the Neil Young thing where you open solo and then you bring your band up and rock, which I've never really done before.  I'm very excited about a show where I get to play all this stuff solo that I really dig playing, like banjo and kick drum.  And then rock it with the guys afterwards."

Doors for the November 18 Castle Theater show open at 7:00 p.m. Anderson's solo set begins at 8:00 p.m. and Anderson guessed Black Dirt Revival will hit the stage around 9:00 p.m.

Jon Norton is the audio director at WGLT and WCBU. He also is host of All Things Considered every weekday.