Kasey Anderson forgoes any romanticism and, instead, writes about people living on "the darker edges of humanity" — the gamblers, the womanizers, the addicts, the down-and-out and those who have lost everything or have nothing to lose.
"I don't know why I gravitate that way," says the Portland-born, Seattle-based singer, songwriter and guitarist. "I'm not an especially unhappy guy or an especially cynical guy."
Despite the grim themes, Anderson says he likes to put a light at the end of the tunnel for all his burned-out, dejected protagonists.
Who: Star Anna and Kasey Anderson
When: 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7
Where: Alex's Plaza Restaurant and Bar, 35 N. Main St., Ashland
This fall, Anderson left his band, The Honkies, behind and set out on the road with fellow Seattle singer and songwriter Star Anna and keyboardist Ty Baile.
"It's easier to put three people in a vehicle and go," he says.
The acoustic trio will perform songs from both songwriters' repertoires at 9 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, at Alex's Plaza Restaurant and Bar, 35 N. Main St., Ashland. The cover charge is $3.
While his songs are predominantly fictional, Anderson says Anna's are autobiographical.
"She tends to write a lot of first-person songs and does a lot of self-exploration and catharsis in her work," he says.
Anderson and Anna met this year as both songwriters recorded respective albums at the same studio at the same time. Anderson later asked Anna to sing on his album, "Let the Bloody Moon Rise," and he performed guitar and vocals on her album, "The Sky is Falling." Both albums will be released in spring 2013.
After they wrapped up their recordings, Anderson and Anna decided to team up and tour.
"We missed playing quieter shows that focused on songs and the material," Anderson says. "Both of us write songs that we want people to pay attention to."
Anna and her band, The Laughing Dogs, play rootsy, Americana-laced rock while Anderson and The Honkies play "brawny" folk, blues and rock 'n' roll.
"With my band, it's certainly louder and closer to The Rolling Stones, The Replacements and people like that," Anderson says. "But when you strip away all those instruments, it's more in line with Steve Earle, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie."
One of Anderson's songs, "Like Teenage Gravity," included on an earlier album, later was recorded by California rock band Counting Crows and featured on its album "Underwater Sunshine." Anderson "stole it back from Counting Crows" and rerecorded the song with his full band for his forthcoming album.