Ed Anderson doesn’t know how he got here, but he’s sure as hell enjoyed the ride.
The Backyard Tire Fire frontman’s travels have taken him through the heart of America — from rural Illinois to the city of Chicago to suburban North Carolina and metropolitan Georgia — earning degrees in film and interpersonal communication and working as a corporate film producer for McDonald’s.
Anderson, 36, paints an intimate portrait of his well-travelled American landscape as singer, guitarist and pianist, spinning upbeat tales about friendship, romance and Midwestern depression against a rugged backdrop of soulful piano and Southern-rock-style guitar.
Call it alt-country, bar-room rock, blues or a virile take on R&B, but the Backyard Tire Fire’s songs “all ultimately fall under the umbrella of rock and roll,” according to Anderson.
“They’re just honest tunes about things I think people can identify with,” he says.
The tracks on the band’s new album, The Places We Lived, vary in style and instrumentation, but they all carry a sense of shelter and stability with them, the idea that home is wherever one makes it.
The group formed in 2001 in Asheville, N.C., but saw a shifting lineup until 2003, when it relocated to Bloomington, Ill., where the band members still reside. There, Anderson enlisted the services of his younger brother Matt on drums, with whom he shared a room as a child. That, he says, is when Backyard Tire Fire started to find real success. Newcomer “Fish” Carpenter rounds out the trio on guitar and piano.
“Everybody [in the band] wants to make a career out of this and do it for the next couple of decades,” he says. “If we can keep the focus and keep doing something that’s coming from the right place, eventually, people are going to figure it out. It’s just a long process.”
Besides the Spin show, Backyard Tire Fire will also perform a free in-store at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Luna Music (5202 N. College Ave.).