Jamie Anderson, Singer - Songwriter - Parking Lot Attendant

"For me, folk music tells a story about folks, simple truth-telling and magical mythology that invites the listener to lean in to the larger circle of life. Jamie Anderson is in that circle and she is singing some wonderful songs." -- Holly Near

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  • Jamie Anderson ~ Better Than Chocolate Curve Magazine, May 2010
    Reprinted with permission

    A regular contributor to Curve, Anderson has been a traveling troubadour for over 20 years, serving up her quirky mix of humor and insight to anyone who'll listen. This five song EP, an aural treat, spans genres from jazz ("January") to acoustic pop ("Public Radio") to folk (the heartwarming "My Dad Loves to Sing"), leaving the listener wanting more.

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  • Jamie Anderson ~ Dare Minor 7th: Acoustic Guitar Music Reviews, 2013
    By Alan Fark
    Reprinted with permission

    The refrain to the title track of Jamie Anderson's newest CD may just become my own life mantra: "dare to live the life you earn." The line is a counterpoint to those living life timidly, to satisfy others' expectations, as with the characters she places into a vignette inspired by a conversation with a woman she met in a bar: "There's a sparkle in her eye but no crinkle at the edges when she smiles / Everything's in place, she's carefully bored / She says she looks as young as she can afford / It's clear to everyone what she's got / But I'd rather have a face I earned / Than one I bought." I can only imagine the creative gears instantly turning in Jamie Anderson's head when the words "I'm as young as I can afford" fell forth from her protagonist's lips in that bar... and as Jamie cautions... "be careful what you say to a songwriter." It is this talent to animate people and their life circumstances via song that sets Anderson apart from lesser songwriters. Sometimes the characters she brings to life are tragically humorous rather than tragic, as in "Run." "Run" turns out to be the one-word advice to a friend who is smitten with a woman who has the seven dwarfs tattooed on her butt, hasn't worked since 2001, and is known (widely) to be great in bed. Another tune certain to spark laughter at a live JA performance is "Yoga Teacher," which seems to begin as a character study of a sadomasochistic lover. But with the comedic timing of Rodney Dangerfield, it's revealed otherwise. Anderson can deftly switch gears from very funny to very poignant, her trademark. "The Boy Who Wanted to Fly" is an homage to her father, and was inspired by her finding a crayon drawing of an airplane done by her father at age 9. Accompanied by her father's old ukulele, in only eight poetic lines she recaps her father's past hopes and dreams so that he comes alive again for us all. When you experience the music of Jamie Anderson, be prepared to laugh… and then get misty.

  • Jamie Anderson ~ Three Bridges Minor 7th: Acoustic Guitar Music Reviews, September/October 2007
    By Alan Fark
    Reprinted with permission

    The promotional snapshots from the back cover of Jamie Anderson’s CD "Three Bridges" are telling. Spanning more than a decade of performance they show the evolution of this talented "singer-songwriter-parking lot attendant" from a young woman with circa-1980s owl-eyed glasses to a mature woman with postmodern Elton John frames... but always sporting the same infectious smile. The song themes, too, have matured and are now the stuff of baby boom concerns which belie the smile: divorce, cancer, bariatric surgery. The title tune, "Three Bridges," is a metaphorical peek in the rearview mirror of her career and recaps Frost’s "The Road Not Taken" using three bridges over the Salt River instead as allegory for the obstacles and rewards of an unconventional life. "Beautiful" is an indictment of our culture’s obsession with slenderness, told via a conversation with a friend who underwent weight-loss surgery (&Gone are her lovely curves and the shine in her eyes / she wants me to be happy but I just want to cry / because I thought she was beautiful before"). "One Out of Three" cites a statistic of those women affected by breast cancer and is a rallying cry to fight this heart-rending scourge. Anderson is not all sweetness and introspection, though. She’s able to very convincingly articulate that most indelicate of expletives when addressing an ex-spouse who was stupid enough to spurn her on "I’m Too Busy Being Blue" (hint: rhymes with "blue"). "Grace" is the name of the pre-teen protagonist who gets bussed to church camp to find religion, but instead finds love with another girl... there’s more than a twinge of irony in the refrain "Hallelujah, praise the Lord." Anderson expertly intersperses these heady themes with comedy on "I Wanna Be a Straight Guy" (her answer to Loudon Wainwright’s "I Wish I Was a Lesbian"), "Menstrual Tango& (a tongue-n-cheek ode to... well... you figure it out) and "When Cats Take Over the World" (a bizarre bit of science fiction that must be a first in the history of songwriting). Indeed, Jamie Anderson’s strength is her ability to distill both the humor and pathos from life, and to present them side-by-side artistically and poetically.

  • Jamie Anderson ~ A Promise of Light Minor 7th: Acoustic Guitar Music Reviews, May/June 2005
    By Tom Semioli
    Reprinted with permission

    In his recent autobiography, Chronicles Part I, Bob Dylan recalls the heady days of the early ‘60s Greenwich Village folk scene wherein he shared the stage with array of authors, poets, artists and assorted characters. In order to survive in front of a hipster audience a singer had to be part prophet-comedian-philosopher-interpreter-historian-sex symbol-hustler-Tin-Pan Alley/Brill Building tunesmith and then some. Singer-songwriter and alleged chocolate-loving parking lot attendant (that’s according to her press-kit, the truth is shrouded in mystery -- as it should be) Jamie Anderson, not Joan Baez, would have been a star (and possibly Dylan’s lover) back then as "A Promise of Light" plays like a timeless book of intriguing short stories. You have to love an artist who has the moxie (in modern times that is) to bookend a hysterical cold-footed hillbilly bride ranting "Your Mama Scares Me" with the deeply spiritual "Ann Lee," a fictional tale recounting the Shaker religion founder who beckons the narrator from beyond the grave. Anderson’s arrangements are steeped in the traditional folk idiom with light percussion, keyboards, and bass providing a simple yet sturdy foundation for the lyrics and melodies. Anderson, along with co- guitarist Kara Barnard, who doubles on banjo and mandolin, are expressive players, incorporating simple blues, bluegrass, and rock licks with intricate finger patterns which afford the songs an intense immediacy and depth of character (check out Bernard’s pull-ons and string plucking ala Mark Knopfler in "Your Night Just Got More Interesting" and the wicked girls-gone-wild instrumental "Emily" with Real World String Band fiddle whiz Karen Jones). Anderson’s angelic vocal style assumes a myriad of personas: the smoky lounge singer ("Gone"), the broken-hearted girl next door ("A Little Chocolate"), the troubled caretaker ("Beautiful"), the dreamy optimist ("Faith"), the cynic ("Grace"), and the eternal wise-ass ("Felo""). In light of current world events, "Polly Vaughn," a traditional folk tune from the British Isles, rings contemporary especially when Anderson icily dictates "come all you young gentlemen who carry a gun... how do you come home by the light of the sun?" "A Promise of Light" pulls all the right strings at all the right times.

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