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Jason Anderson: Making a connection

At first glance, Jason Anderson might seem like your stereotypical singer/songwriter or “guy with guitar,” taking influences from contemporary music such as Bruce Springsteen, U2, Pearl Jam, Van Morrison, The Band, My Morning Jacket and also taking inspiration from tourmate and best friend, Stand of Oaks (Tim Showalter), who Anderson will perform with at Cafe Metropolis on Friday, Jan. 30. But after taking a longer look, Anderson is far from stereotypical.

By attending one of Anderson’s live shows or even searching for Anderson on YouTube, it is clear to see that his shows have an excitement and intimacy to them, where Anderson makes a true connection with his audience and his audience makes a connection with him.

“Well, my main goal is to have a great time and connect with people,” said Anderson. “To remind them of how awesome live music can, and should, be. Every show is different, every town is different, every group of people who decide they want to be in that place at that time to experience the music is different. The best I can do is to make every show the best I’ve ever played, to always strive for that, whether there are five people or 30 people there. It’s always wonderful.”

Friday’s event is a CD-release show for Strand of Oaks’ new album, “Leave Ruin.”

The connections that Anderson makes with his audience does not stop at live shows. The connections continue into cyberspace. And Anderson is extremely eager and willing to continue contact and making that sought-after connection with his fans.

“Well, whether it’s over the computer or in person after a show, I am really just interested in making friends and making real connections,” said Anderson. “And when somebody e-mails you and asks a question or asks about a show or something, why wouldn’t you write back? It seems like that should be the rule and not the exception. I’m just a very normal dude who also happens to sing songs.”

Unlike many independent artists, Anderson keeps an actual Web site, not just a MySpace page. Again, Anderson cites the reason he uses the Website: for the connection with his audience.

“I was very reluctant to join MySpace, but eventually did,” said Anderson. “I did enjoy the connection but was yearning for something even more personal. So I quit MySpace and started the Web site. Recently I have put a MySpace page back up, but mainly as a redirect to the site. Anything I can do to connect to people and share my music as easily and directly as possible is important to me.”

The excitement of Anderson’s live show also lies in the individuality of each show. Some shows Anderson does solo, and some shows are with an entire band made up of Anderson’s musician friends.

“I usually split time between playing by myself and playing with friends,” said Anderson. “I have been very lucky that some of my favorite people in the world are also incredibly talented musicians. I am hoping to enlist some friends from Wilkes-Barre for the show at Metropolis.”

Jan. 30 is not the first time Anderson will be playing Cafe Metropolis, although it has been some time. He is also looking forward to making more of the personal connections that he seeks.

“I’ve played a few shows in Wilkes-Barre,” said Anderson. “I really like the town. I’m very excited to come back, as it’s been a little while. Donald (Hosey), at Cafe Metropolis is great, as is my buddy [Greg] Gover (These Elk Forever), who is also on the show.”

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Strand of Oaks, Jason Anderson, These Elk Forever.

Friday, Jan. 30, doors 7, show 8 p.m. at Cafe Metropolis,

94 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. Cost: $7.

Info: www.jasonandersonswebsite.com, www.cafemetropolis.com

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