An Album by Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz

Produced by Mike Butler

Release date will be July 31, 2020.

While working on Ghosts To Ancestors, Jeff Peters recommended a book to me: George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo.  


He probably recommended this novel because the main characters are ghosts, and Jeff knew I was interested in Buddhism, ghosts, and hauntings, especially the philosophical take on hauntings called "hauntology" and the Japanese version of the ghost story called the "yurei" story.  


Lincoln in the Bardo is an American Buddhist's yurei story that explores many hauntological themes.


I was so moved by this book, I wrote the song "Matterbloomlight" with Mark O'Bitz back in October of 2018.  I then decided to do a whole album of songs inspired by the novel and its characters.  In the spring of 2019, before we had finished Ghosts To Ancestors, Mark and I got together for a few days of writing songs and we experienced a creative explosion that surprised us both.  


I wanted this album to be darker and bluesier than my prior releases so I searched for a new producer who might be able to provide me with this change in direction.  I feel fortunate that I found Mike Butler of San Diego, my former home and where my family goes back three generations.


Mike and I will be working together on my next project, currently called "This Mortal Farce."  We had too many songs for American Bardo so we decided to push any song that did not directly reference Lincoln in the Bardo to the next album.  So, once again, I've already started the next project before I have finished the current one.

"A Home the I Can't Know"

A Single by Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz
Produced by Mike Butler

Release date will be July 31, 2020.

This song is also a reading of one of the novel's main characters, The Reverend Everly Thomas.  Unlike the other bardo characters in the novel, the Reverend knows he is dead and suspects that he and the others are heading toward an I-less existence beyond time and what they call the "matterlightblooming effect," which is why he chooses to stay in the bardo as long as he does.


click on cover to hear track

"Matterbloomlight (Revisited)"

A Single by Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz
Produced by Mike Butler

Released May 1, 2020.

The demo for "Matterbloomlight" was released in the fall of 2018.  The song was inspired by George Saunders' Mann-Booker-Prize-winning novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.  You could say the song is a reading of one of the many themes of the novel.  This is true for all the songs on American Bardo.  Eric sent the demo to George Saunders himself, and Saunders found it to be "beautiful" and thanked Eric and Mark for making it.  "Matterbloomlight (Revisited)" keeps Eric's original vocals but is utterly "revisited" by guitarist Mike Butler, the producer of American Bardo.

"A beautiful expression of the cyclical nature of life and death, the synth-washed folk of ‘Matterbloomlight (Revisited)’ offers listeners a profound sample of their forthcoming album, American Bardo, due out 31 July."

- For Folk's Sake


"Bury Me"

A Single by Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz
Produced by Mike Butler

Release date will be May 29, 2020.

(Spoiler alert for the novel) I imagined this song being sung by Willie's ghost to his grieving father in the small cemetery chapel just before Willie experiences the "matterlightblooming effect." 


"Old Theory of Love"

A Single by Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz
Produced by Mike Butler

Release date will be June 26, 2020.

Two of the many main characters of Saunders' novel, Bevins and Vollman, experience a profound sense of empathy and connectedness when they simultaneously haunt Lincoln.  They seem more impressed by this experience of haunting each other than they are impressed by finding out that the man they are haunting is the President and there is a huge Civil War going on.  Their experience reminded me of Aristophanes' theory of love in Plato's Symposium, which is bizarre but also still valuable if it is not understood too literally.



An EP by Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz
Produced by Mike Butler

Release date will be October 30, 2020.

We went into the studio to record American Bardo with sixteen songs expecting some of them not to proceed past the recording stage.  All of them proceeded past the recording stage and so we put all the songs with lyrics directly related to Lincoln in the Bardo on American Bardo (12 songs) and the remaining four were put on this EP, This Mortal Farce.



click on cover to hear album



Released July 2, 2019.
Produced by Mark O'Bitz and mixed by Randy Ray Mitchell.


"Singer-songwriter Eric Anders and longtime collaborator/guitarist Mark O’Bitz return with their first new record since 2018's Of All These Things in the shape of Ghosts To Ancestors. The title of the record is based around the [Hans Loewald] idea of people being haunted by the ghosts of their childhood and having these ghosts merely become their ancestors and thus improving their lives... O’Bitz’s guitar work throughout the record is on form and almost feels like the second voice to the music, bringing in a personality of its own as it accompanies Anders’ vocals." - Jamie Parmenter, Vinyl Chapters


All ten songs were written by Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz.  Eric sings and Mark is on acoustic guitar on all the songs too.  Grammy-winning guitarist Randy Ray Mitchell is on electric guitar throughout the album.  Most of the album was recorded by Jeff Peters at The Pie Studios in Pasadena.  James Gadson (Bill Withers, Paul McCartney) is on drums on many of the songs.  Phil Jones (Tom Petty) is on drums on several others. The album was mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound.




Released October, 2018.
Produced and mixed by Mark O'Bitz.


This single is an ode to the novel, Lincoln In The Bardo, by George Saunders.  It is a demo for the first song written for Eric's album, American Bardo, due out the summer of 2020.

click on cover to hear it


click on cover to hear album



Released in June 2018.
Produced and mixed by Jeff Peters at The Pie Studios, Pasadena.

"Of the many albums that have graced my ears this year, one in particular stands out...  Anders, most notably known for his solo work, releases a full-fledged record with longtime partner-in-crime Mark O'Bitz, as they take us on a musical journey you will not soon forget... [Of All These Things] is a record that is skillfully crafted from beginning to end, that shows the true essence and spirit of the songwriters. Each piece on the record works blissfully on their own but also works together as a cohesive piece of work. Songs such as "New Life" and "Found My Way Home" will have you falling in love with the duo" Emily Hinde, NoDepression 


All of the songs were written by Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz. Mark plays acoustic guitar on all of the tracks.  Eric's nephew, Tyler Nuffer, graces the album with his electric guitar, slide, and lap steel.  

ElevenNine cover rev2.jpg

click on cover to hear album


Eric Anders

Released April 20, 2017.
Produced by Matthew Emerson Brown.

Eric partnered with Lambda Legal to release his 2017 anti-Trump album to critical acclaim: "It’s not only well-written and well-produced [by Matt Brown], but a robust listen for anyone trying to find compassion or healing within the country’s political climate...  Eleven Nine is powerful on all fronts.  Heavy lyrics ... beautiful melodies and an overall production that paints a detailed picture with every track....  [Anders'] ability to write profound lyrics and deliver them in such a mesmerizing way is certainly something to be admired...  Anders’ music may be too polarizing for popular radio. But there’s no question it belongs in documentaries, political protests, and hell, the national archive.  It’s not easy to write songs that can connect with people. It’s even tougher to do so while making a political statement.  Anders does it" (Josh Helmuth, Crave).  


click on cover to hear album


Eric Anders

Released March 30, 2016.
Remastered by Jeff Peters.


In 2016 Eric had not released any music for five years--that is, since he released Remains In Me in 2011.  There had been another five-year break before Remains In Me since Tethered to the Ground came out in 2006. Eric got married and started a family in 2005 which caused the two five-year breaks. Eric decided to release this "best of" album because he wasn't sure he was going to make music again after these long breaks. Just after releasing Big World Abide, Trump got elected and Eric wanted to team up again with Matthew Emerson Brown and Mark O'Bitz to make Eleven Nine. At this point in 2019, now with Eric's fourth full-length release since 2016 in the works, releasing a "best of" album in 2016 seems to have been a slightly premature capping off Eric's music career.  Many critics, such as Joseph Timmons of IndiePulse Music Magazine, were delighted by Eric's pseudo blunder: "Big World Abide: The Best of Eric Anders is the modern folk-based anthology we have been waiting to hear, and will never forget."



Eric Anders

Released in 2011.
Produced and mixed by Matthew Emerson Brown.

Though he was exhausted by his job and three kids (one a newborn), Eric decided to work on a five-song EP that was inspired by the Michael Apted award-winning documentary, Incident at Oglala.  Eric wrote three of the songs with Mark O'Bitz--"Remains In Me," "How, Low and Why," and "Genocide and Justice"--and two with Benny Bohm: "Heavy Weather" and "Ghost of Conscience".  All three of the songs he wrote with Mark O'Bitz ended up on Eric's 2016 "best of" release, Big World Abide.

click on cover to hear EP

Tethered to the Ground (2006).png

click on cover to hear album


Eric Anders

Released March 21, 2006.
Produced and engineered by Matthew Emerson Brown.  Mixed by Jeff Peters.

This album is still Eric's favorite release.  Matt Brown (Trespassers William) poured his heart and soul into the production.  Eric wrote most of the songs with Mark O'Bitz.  Mark also plays acoustic guitar on most of the tracks.  Ross Simonini (Trespassers William) had a big impact on the album, playing bass on most of the tracks, and working masterful string arrangements on several tracks.  Anna-Lynne Williams (Trespassers William) backing vocals on several tracks are beautiful.  According to Laura Hamlett at PlaybackStL: "The music is laid back, richly woven, contemplative, and inviting. The vocals are hushed, gentle, whisperstrong ... this, friends, is what that whole singer/songwriter movement is all about: one man with a vision, a unique voice, solid instrumentation, and words that can—and will—open your eyes" (6/30/06, pg. 20).  Eric wrote the song "Far Away Land" with Benny Bohm.  Most of the songs on Eric's 2016 "best of" release Big World Abide are from Tethered to the Ground

"So Wrong" was used in the 2007 Michael Schroeder film, Man in the Chair, starring Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer.  The song "Big World Abide" was used in both the extremely popular European TV show, Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden, and the Courtney Cox TV show, Dirt.


click on cover to hear album


Eric Anders

Released in 2005.
Produced by Randy Ray Mitchell.  Mixed by Jeff Peters

"In just his second full-length album, Eric Anders is already being touted as one of the best singer-songwriters of today. Upon hearing More Regrets, you realize that this praise is definitely warranted" (Greg Howell, AntiMusic).  Grammy-winning guitarist Randy Ray Mitchell (Warren Zevon) poured his heart and soul into the production of this album.  Randy plays all of the guitars, and quite a bit more.  Eric wrote most of the songs with Mark O'Bitz, including "Remembering On My Own."  Eric wrote three of the songs with Randy,  including "Icarus" and "Settlin' Comes."  These three songs were featured on Eric's 2016 "best of" album, Big World Abide.


click on cover to hear EP


Eric Anders

Released in 2004.
Produced and mixed by Jeff Peters.

Jeff and Eric hastily put this three-song anti-Bush EP together and out during the 2004 election.  Though the election results were disappointing, Eric was fortunate to have worked on this EP bassist Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello and Cracker), hall-of-fame drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello), and Grammy-winning guitarist Randy Ray Mitchell (Warren Zevon).  People might think that our problems with Bush pale in comparison with our current problems with Trump, but I think it is important to remember that Bush lied to get the U.S. into the Iraq War, where approximately 460,000 Iraqis died, and 4,424 Americans died.  "No one died when Clinton lied," and relatively few have died during Trump's reign of error, even though Trump has lied over 10,000 times since his inauguration.  Nixon was the worst of all presidents if we judge them by "body count," argues historian Al Carroll: "Nixon was the worst by far for what he did in Cambodia, what many argue was outright genocide. He ordered the carpet bombing and invasion of a neutral nation for no other reason than to convince conservatives he was still tough on communism. Half a million were killed, including 50,000 executions.  Nixon also ignored genocide against Bangladesh, continued a program of mass torture far worse than GW Bush’s, ordered chemical warfare in Vietnam, and pardoned a mass murderer of women and children, Lieutenant Calley at My Lai."  Trump-Russia was worse than Watergate, but Nixon is much worse than Trump or Bush if you judge by body count.  Reagan is too, according to Carroll.


click on cover to hear album


Eric Anders

Released in 2003.
Produced by Richard Barron and Eric Anders.  Mixed by Jeff Peters.

Eric's debut album started with Mark O'Bitz and Eric writing songs in Eric's Pasadena townhouse in 2002.  Eric wrote almost all of the songs with Mark, but also wrote a few with Benny Bohm too, including the title track, "Not At One."  After releasing the album, Derek Sivers of CD Baby was quoted saying, "Not At One is one of the best CDs I've ever heard."  Music critic Gayle Worley wrote the following: "Eric Anders is an obscure, independent singer-songwriter whose unaffected ability to turn a phrase and otherworldly knack for arranging transcendent, melancholy melodies would have made him a superstar, you know, if records still sold based on talent."


recoveries _EricA_cover.jpg

click on cover to hear EP


Eric Anders

Released in 2017.
Produced and mixed by Matthew Emerson Brown.


On Tethered to the Ground, Eric, Mark, and Matt did a cover of the Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun," which would become their most popular release to date.  Eric had to get permission from Gordon Gano to release their cover because Eric altered the lyrics to fit the mood of the cover.  Gano liked Eric's version so much he granted Eric permission to release his altered-lyric cover.  According to Today's Retro, Eric's version of "Blister in the Sun" is "one of the best covers of any retro song to be heard." 


Eric's "Blister in the Sun" was the only cover he released prior to 2017 and Eleven Nine. Until Eleven Nine, Eric only wanted to release a cover that was truly unique, or done in a way that really was different than the original.  With Eleven Nine, Eric released two covers, or really two and a half: "Who'll Stop the Rain" and "I Hear Them All (This Land Is Your Land)."  Eric released these covers because he felt they were perfect for the times.  Eric wanted to do them like the originals as a way to pay homage to the brilliant lyrics and moods created by Creedence, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Woodie Guthrie--lyrics and moods created long ago but still so fitting to today's political morass and therefore timeless.


The three covers on Recoveries were intended as altered-lyric covers--à la “Blister in the Sun"--but the lyrics were to be altered to be anti-Trump.  Eric was told by many that this couldn't be done with such big artists (REM, Taylor Swift, and Neil Young), but he didn't listen and went ahead with recording, overconfident due to his past success with the Violent Femmes.  With no permissions granted (all those naysayers were right), the altered-lyric covers couldn’t be released and we could only release the songs we worked so hard on as regular covers--hence the name "recoveries."


Woodie Guthrie did his altered-lyric version of the Carter Family’s “When the World’s On Fire” and called his protest song “This Land Is Your Land” (which is the song "Eleven Nine" ends with, tacked on to “I Hear Them All," copying the Dave Rawlings Machine).  This land is your land and my land, but this melody is not yours or my melody for which to write protest lyrics.  Gone are those days, and so the songwriting left has to write original songs, which is exactly what Eric does almost invariably.  


All this makes Eric think of the sign on Guthrie’s guitar that read “This Machine Kills Fascists.”  Guthrie and thousands of patriotic Americans from the great generation--who died fighting the fascists in Germany and Italy, and the authoritarian regime of Japan--role in their graves as this disgusting, Putin-loving, would-be-authoritarian proto-fascist sits in the Oval Office.  How low … why?

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