Local Musician Check-in: Carl Anderson

Posted on July 10, 2013 by


Carl Anderson is one of THE most skilled lyricists I know. When accompanied with the talent of matching said lyrics with some homegrown folk tunes, the result is a melodious platter of soul food songs, hearty and pleasing, yet sometimes overwhelming (in a good way). Carl Anderson

Anderson writes with such ingredients as fathers, lovers, mistakes, hopes and fears, always making you evaluate your own life. I had the pleasure of speaking with the “wolftown” bred boy, where he can be found weekly, at The Local’s Songwriter’s Circle (seriously, if you haven’t checked this event out yet… DO IT!).

A Q&A with Carl Anderson

Tell us a little about yourself: where are you from? If not Cville, when did you come here?

I was born in Madison County, Va in an area called ‘Wolftown”. I lived there until I was seven, moved to Syracuse, NY for a year and then came back to Charlottesville where I have been ever since.

When and why did you start playing music/singing? What instruments do you play?

I began playing music/writing songs mostly out of desperation. I decided not to go to college and didn’t have much else going on. I realized I had a knack for songwriting and ran with it. Besides cooking, it’s my only marketable skill.

Most influential artist. Child? Teen? Adult?

I am the student of so many that have come before me and work beside me. I hear music everyday that inspires me to be better at what I do. Of course I like Townes…

When did you write your first song/what was it about?

I don’t remember exactly when I wrote my first song. It must have been in middle school…something for the talent show. I think there may be a VHS tape collecting dust somewhere.

What influences your writing?

Mostly personal experience.

What aspects of life excite you and stir your affections, fuel your passions? (i.e. nature, heartbreak, joy, pain, relationships, serenity…)

What doesn’t excite me!? Seriously. I use everything.

When did you play your first gig? What emotions and thoughts ran through your head after finishing?

I played at a the “college” bar Coupe Deville’s, on Elliewood, in 9th grade. We played stuff from the top 40 for a bunch of drunk co-eds. Looking back it seems outrageous for someone to have booked a couple of 14 year olds to play there..but whatever. I felt on high and it was a great exercise and entertaining.

Do you get pumped or nervous pre-show?

I’m almost always pumped to play a show. I have become extremely comfortable in front of the audience. I’d like for everyone to walk away having felt something. Every night I try and hit that mark.

What does a day in the life of a modern day songwriter look like from your perspective?

I wake up and go to work at Ace biscuit and Barbecue. While I’m there serving up the best soul food I’ve encountered, I think about lots of things; my fiancé, our wedding, my new record, what I think I might want for dinner… whatever. I live my life and the songs show up when they’re meant to.

What do you want people to take from hearing your music? (as a fan, also what do you want people to take from experiencing your live show)

When I decide to write a song and record it, or play it in front of people in a club, I think I am in a way giving up ownership. What the song means to me may not mean the same thing to the someone else. That’s what songs are for. It becomes theirs

What does the not-so-distant future hold for Carl Anderson?

I have finished a new record called “Risk of Loss” that will drop in the next few months. I am ready to go out and play these songs far and wide for whomever is willing to sit down and listen. I will also marry the love of my life in October. All in all, I feel blessed.

Describe yourself in 10 words.

son. friend. cook. songwriter. singer. driver. dreamer. renter. sinner. companion.