Anders Parker

REVIEW : Anders Parker’s “Wolf Reckoning”


Anders Parker – Wolf Reckoning (Recorded and Freed Records)

Across a 20 year career Anders Parker has cut his own path, zig zagging across roads and wilds with his music. From Portland, OR, to Brooklyn, NY, to Raleigh, NC, to Upstate New York, finally to New Orleans, with some short, rootless incursions into California, Texas, and beyond, Parker has left a trail of inspiration behind, while mining the earth, air, and gravity of each stop, turning that rugged ore into beautifully constructed testaments of life’s experiences.

Parker has released six albums under his own name, including a double record and an album of guitar instrumentals. Under the Varnaline moniker, Parker released five albums between 1996 and 2001. In addition, he teamed up with Jay Farrar to form Gob Iron. Jim James and Will Johnson joined those two to bring the archived lyrics of Woody Guthrie to life in the New Multitudes “supergroup” project. Parker released a beautifully lyrical album with longtime ally Kendall Meade under the band name Anders & Kendall. He was also a member of noise rock band Space Needle, and Parker continues to aid and abet a long list of colleagues and friends in their efforts along the way.

Parker’s latest outing Wolf Reckoning (Out October 1st) has an overall serious tone in both sound and lyrical exploration. On these seven contemplative songs (many over 6 minutes long), he tears through themes of social inequality, the 1%, and social revolution in a beautifully layered soundscape.

On the late era Bowie-esque “Wolves,” for example, Parker sings that “death was laughing back,” while the sonically rewarding “The Ecstatic Call” ruminates on the thought of being able to “have faith if there is no beyond, no God up in the sky, or Devil down below.”

Elsewhere, as the music lifts and swells, there is also a lot of hope to be found.

The penultimate track “Sunyata” slides into a spacey grove while Parker repeats, as if a mantra, “This and nothing more.”

In his own words Parker states “I had been thinking about this Buddhist concept of emptiness, devoid of desire for material wealth or different circumstances or want of anything, and free from regret or shame about things in the past, and also not anxious or concerned or worried about what the future might hold.”

The album closes with the cry “I got freedom in my heart” on the track “Terlingua,” inspired by the West Texas ghost town often populated by drifter reaching the end of the road. It’s an apt closer to winding journey of this expansive song cycle.

Watch the premiere of “Down At The Museum” official video:




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