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Kasey Anderson & The Honkies’ celebrate release of “Heart of a Dog”


On February 15, 2011, Seattle and Portland-based Kasey Anderson & The Honkies will celebrate the release of their latest full-length, “Heart of a Dog” (Red River Records).

Comprised of Kasey Anderson (vocals, guitar, percussion), Andrew KcKeag (guitar, vocals), Eric Corson (bass), and Mike Musburger (drums), Kasey Anderson & The Honkies bring a wealth of a “who’s who” of Northwest rock to their latest offering. McKeag has spent time in Presidents of the United States of America and The Long Witers, Corson in The Long Winters and, of course, Musburger from The Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows, The Posies, The Supersuckers, and countless other cult Seattle power-pop and indie-rock bands.

“Heart of a Dog,” which was produced by Kasey Anderson and The Honkies and Jordan Richter features guest appearances by The Decemberists’ Jenny Conlee (accordion), Richmond Fontaine’s Dave Harding (bass), and several other friends and fellow NW musicians.

With all this going for it, it is no surprise that “Heart of a Dog” has allowed Anderson to move beyond the “roots-rock” or “alt. country” tags he’s previously been welcomed with, and make the rock record he’s envisioned for quite some time.

³I was tired of playing solo shows and I was even more tired of the words Œroots rock,¹² Anderson says by way of explanation. ³I just wanted to make a rock ‘n’ roll record.²

Comprised of ten tracks that cannot be mistaken for anything other than rock ‘n’ roll, from the sinister riff of the album¹s opening track, ³The Wrong Light,² to the barroom piano of the plaintive closer, ³For Anyone,² “Heart of a Dog” captures an energy that Anderson insists can come only when ³everybody¹s in the same room, at the same time.²

To further ensure that each song carried its own immediacy, Anderson ­ who made his first foray into the producer¹s chair on “Heart of a Dog” ­ refused to play guitar while tracking with his band. ³The natural tendency of any Œbacking band¹ is to follow the lead of the guy who wrote the songs, especially when he¹s got a guitar,² Anderson says. ³I wanted to let the band dictate the groves.”

McKeag, a veteran of the Seattle music scene for nearly two decades (with service in The Supersuckers, The Long Winters, and Presidents of the USA to his credit), handles the responsibility ably, filling “Heart of a Dog” with an impressive array of guitar work, from the Stonesy swagger of ³Mercy² to the bluesy, Waitsian stomp of ³Revisionist History Blues.² Even the album¹s more somber material ­ ³Your Side of Town² and ³My Blues, My Love² ­ feature sprawling, atmospheric guitar. “Heart of a Dog” bears the same beautifully literate lyricism that has become a hallmark of Anderson¹s work but, in allowing room for McKeag and The Honkies to shine, Anderson has opened up sonic possibilities left unexplored on his previous albums.

Once the band had finished tracking, Anderson invited friends by the studio to, as he says, ³play whatever they wanted so long as it was interesting.² Ralph Huntley (Richmond Fontaine), Jenny Conlee (The Decemberists), Garth Klippert (Old Light), Lewi Longmire (Blue Giant), and David Lipkind (I Can Lick Any SOB in the House) all dropped in, leaving Anderson with ³more good noise than [he] knew what to do with.²

As Anderson and co-producer/engineer Jordan Richter sorted through all of the ³good noise,² they found one very interesting common thread: laughter. ³There was somebody laughing at the end of every take, no matter how good or bad,² Anderson says. ³Not nervous or embarrassed laughter. Excited laughter; people having fun. We left some of it in. If people listen to this record as loud as I want them to, they¹ll hear it.²

Now, it’s time for the band to bring the show on the road. Anderson, relieved he won’t have to tour solo acoustic in support of this album, looks forward to rocking the stages of theaters and dive bars alike across the U.S. – and Europe.

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