Like its predecessor, Waves gathers timeless songs by many of Eric’s “friends and acquaintances” and presents them in contemporary but intimate arrangements to a new audience that may never have heard them and to a previous generation that has yearned to hear them again. The range of writers and material that Andersen has chosen to cover reflects the creative explosion of the Sixties: Tim Buckley’s shimmering, ethereal “Once I Was” is followed by the folkish elegy “Ramblin’ Boy” by Andersen mentor Tom Paxton; Happy Traum’s metaphorical trad-folk, “Golden Bird,” is preceded by an understated reading of Lou Reed’s bittersweet Velvet Underground ballad, “Pale Blue Eyes.” Other songs remembered and revived by Eric: Phil Ochs’ wise overview, “Changes”; Fred Neil’s bluesy “I’ve Got a Secret”; a jauntily rocking rendition of Tom Rush’s “On the Road Again”; and the dreamy “Coconut Grove,” written about Fred Neil’s Florida hideaway by the Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky. There are also two forceful, snarling anti-war/anti-imperialist songs – Dylan’s “John Brown” and the late Richard Fariña’s “Bold Marauder” – and a pair of Andersen’s own early signature songs, “Today is the Highway” and “Thirsty Boots,” the latter a live bonus track featuring Eric and Judy Collins trading verses, with harmonies by Tom Rush and Arlo Guthrie, that has also appeared on the Judy Collins Wildflower Festival CD. As on The Street, Waves includes a newly written Andersen title track (“Hymn of Waves”) summarizing the spirit of these two volumes: “Light the fire and take it to the people/The word will spread like flames.”
Again joining Andersen (vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, harmonica) in his invocation of eternal songs and songwriters are his longtime producer and arranger Robert Aaron (bass, keyboards, woodwinds, percussion), leader of international hip-hop star Wyclef Jean’s band; fellow Appleseed artists The Kennedys (Pete plays typically incisive and illuminating guitar throughout, Maura sings backing vocals on “Bold Marauder”); Greenwich Village alumni Happy Traum (banjo, on his own “Golden Bird”) and Jim Glover, friend and sometime singing partner of Phil Ochs and half of the ’60s Jim & Jean duo (backing vocals on “Changes”), daughter Signe Askeland-Andersen (backing vocals on “Ramblin’ Boy”) and an attuned core of funk/jazz/rock sessioneers.
Reviews"The power of these interpretations comes from Andersen's knowledge that he and his comrades on the storied '60s folk scene crafted songs beyond time or classification . . . Each piece is illuminated by Andersen's intimate understanding of its strengths. - Mojo