I’ll admit it – I first heard of Anderson East and his debut album, “Delilah,” (released almost a year ago) after reading an embarrassingly gossipy article about his potential relationship with country music heavy-hitter Miranda Lambert in light of her recent divorce from Blake Shelton. That confession aside, I’m glad I found this album and gave “Delilah” a listen.
This is not the album to end all albums. It is not one for the history books. However, that doesn’t make it unworthy of praise. East’s album is tangible proof that country music has reached the end of a long and potholed road and is now performing a somewhat clumsy yet much-anticipated U-turn back toward sanity.
There are faux pas to be found throughout “Delilah.” There’s talk of a woman being East’s “only medicine” in the track “Only You,” and a woman bringing out the worst in him throughout “Devil in Me.
” But that’s a small price to pay for his voice – with a hint of rasp and a lot of soul – and the music itself, which has a fantastically folksy, blues sound that is wonderfully textured and, surprisingly, not over-produced.
“What a Woman Wants to Hear” is easily the album’s highlight, buried toward the end of the lineup. It’s songs like this that make “Delilah” worthwhile despite a few less than stellar offerings.
Are there other albums out there with similar lyrical themes and sounds to “Delilah”? Absolutely. This is no trailblazer. It’s a worthy listen though for anyone with a taste for something different and for a peek at what’s to come in mainstream country music. (The album is produced by Dave Cobb – the man behind rising stars Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and Chris Stapleton). “Delilah” may not leave you feeling overwhelmed, and you also won’t be underwhelmed, but for right now I’ll take being just plain old whelmed.
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