Lone Wolf No More: Jason Anderson embraces the intimacy of music at South Union Arts

“No matter how many people come to a show, the ultimate goal is to make that night sublime. Something unique, special, alive and wonderful,” gushes Jason Anderson. ”I am always just striving to create a magical experience, one whose parameters only expand with every single person in the room on board to give it their all.” Anderson’s unabashed sincerity and genuine love of music is no doubt a factor in his rising underground popularity. Anderson, who began performing with only his guitar under the moniker “Wolf Colonel” in 1996, dropped his band name in 2004 and decided to “bare it all” and perform under his given name. This Friday he plays a show at South Union Arts.

But don’t be fooled–Anderson is not the next John Mayer, nor is he trying to be. “To be honest, I was just sheepish about going under ‘Jason Anderson’ and came up with a weird sounding band name to confuse people,” Anderson confesses. It was a personal decision that was also encouraged by his friend Phil, who recorded the album “New England” with Anderson. Anderson’s decision to stand on his own was heavily influenced by his desire to have a deeper connection with his audience and to convey his love of music to the four or four hundred people listening to him perform. This is no joke to Anderson, who proudly states, “I can truly only sing so loud, or strum so hard. It’s the openheartedness and bravery of each [concert] attendant who decides to stand, sing, and–most importantly–connect” that has moved him to continue producing music that touches people in such an intimate manner. In other words, Anderson encourages his audience to stomp, clap, dance and sing along to his music. This sense of camaraderie entirely consumes and draws Anderson’s audiences, which, in turn, confirms Anderson’s desire to create unique and exquisite shows that his audience can take away as something intimate and entirely special. His music is guitar-driven pop with loaded with catchy verses and could be compared to the likes of Built to Spill and Guided by Voices–it is hard to miss Anderson’s strong vocals and the pretty melodies produced by his guitar and a backup band in the background. To Anderson, it made perfect sense to perform under his given name so that his audience could feel like they could reach out and feel the same things that he himself could feel through his music.

A native of New Hampshire but also a product of the Midwest (Anderson’s father is from Michigan and Anderson spent some time in Omaha, Nebraska), Anderson has traveled far to achieve his musical dreams. After putting out some records with a couple of different labels and minimally distributing “self-released cassettes” of his own music, Anderson’s musical pursuits have led him all the way to Olympia, Washington, to the respected indie record label, K Records (which has represented artists such as Modest Mouse and is co-owned and operated by musician Calvin Johnson). Anderson recently released an album in February 2008 titled “The Hopeful & The Unafraid.” The title of this album best reflects Anderson’s efforts and state of mind. His true love for his music and his fans are a breath of fresh air–attending one of Anderson’s live shows is much like going on an intimate date, except Anderson will be less judgmental about the missing button on your cardigan and the wedge of spinach stuck in your teeth, let alone notice that huge pimple under your nose. Anderson expresses this, saying, “We make these evenings what they are, and nobody–not magazines, not blogs, not cynical hipsters–can take that away.”

South Union Arts, 1352 S. Union Ave. May 10. Saturday, 9pm. www.southunionarts.com.