Anthony David - The Setup (2010)

Anthony David
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It is almost inexplicable that in 2010 we are still talking about Anthony David as a "successful indie artist" rather than simply as a star. The Atlanta-based singer/songwriter won an underground audience in 2004 with his debut album, Three Chords and the Truth, and took his game up a notch three years later with The Red Clay Chronicles, one of the best releases of 2007. And when he signed Universal Records in 2008, I fully expected Acey Ducey, a exquisite compilation that perfectly captured the best moments of his first two albums, to catapult him to the forefront of adult soul music. However, the odd world of major label music and modern radio conspired to keep David an underground treasure, even as he continued the organic growth of his career.

It is almost inexplicable that in 2010 we are still talking about Anthony David as a "successful indie artist" rather than simply as a star. The Atlanta-based singer/songwriter won an underground audience in 2004 with his debut album, Three Chords and the Truth, and took his game up a notch three years later with The Red Clay Chronicles, one of the best releases of 2007. And when he signed Universal Records in 2008, I fully expected Acey Ducey, a exquisite compilation that perfectly captured the best moments of his first two albums, to catapult him to the forefront of adult soul music. However, the odd world of major label music and modern radio conspired to keep David an underground treasure, even as he continued the organic growth of his career.

David is currently finalizing this third full studio album, As Above So Below, but in the meantime his new label Purpose Records (in association with E One Music) has created a teaser EP that captures David's easygoing live show, whetting appetities for As Above without cannibalizing it.  And this tweener release, The Setup, achieves more than its modest goals, creating a new and different opportunity for the world to find this talented, immensely enjoyable artist.

The seven songs on The Setup include a smattering of live versions of prior Anthony David cuts as well as previews of As Above. And the disc is beautiful in its simplicity.  Just Anthony David, two guitars, backing percussion and few frills.  The small club feel works, giving David's "George Peach Medley" and "Cold Turkey" a different, more natural energy than in their original forms. But the real treat for  fans will be the new songs that dominate The Setup, beginning with the almost prototypical A.D. Southern midtempo track, "Let Me In." It is lazily irresistible and reminds us of why we wore out Red Clay. "Find Your Love" and "Girlfriend" are typically solid but are topped by the excellent duet with Algebra, "4evermore"

The Setup is too short with too many familiar tracks to fully satisfy a fan's desire for new music by Anthony David.  But, like Eric Roberson's 2005 release The Appetizer, it serves as more than simply a time killer while fans wait for As Above So Below.  It stands as a worthwhile addition to David's relatively short discography, providing a new, stripped view of a rising star who appears more comfortable than ever in a live setting, engaging his audience and simply sounding great. Recommended.

By Chris Rizik

 
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