Evergreens symbolize longevity, immortality and continued renewal, a fitting metaphor for Kentucky rockers Bendigo Fletcher. The past several years saw the band shift members, sign to a larger label and craft a new piece of work reflecting their new chapter. “Evergreen,” the first single from the band’s upcoming collection of work meanders through the madness of the world and the constant reconditioning required to survive it all.
Following up the band’s 2019 EP Memory Fever, “Evergreen,” the first single off their upcoming project, produced by Wilco and Uncle Tupelo drummer Ken Coomer, fuses a denser psych-rock with some remaining elements of Bendigo Fletcher’s drifting folk-Americana roots. Originally written in 2015, “Evergreen” narrates all the band’s journey throughout this time through the present, including their recent signing to Elektra Records.
“The band has gone through a journey to make it sound like it sounds, but I think the feeling around when that song was created applies now more than ever in a new context,” says singer Ryan Anderson. “Looking back and taking it into context now, I wrote the song in a time of great, personal uncertainty. I was out of college and studying for the MCAT tests for medical school, but at the same time, was coming to terms with the reality that I’ve never been able to sit down and read a book for more than 10 minutes. I have an active mind that just needs to be moving all the time.”
In some form of self-preservation, Anderson embraced yoga, long walks, and studying architecture to help put his mind at ease, and stimulated. “It eases anxiety and lets you imagine and dream and appreciate where all those structures come from,” says Anderson. “The song touches on self preservation for the common good. I’ve started to realize that I can start to act more truthfully with myself and pay attention to when I feel a strong sense of truth, versus following a more conventional path that I thought was laid before me—like medical school.”
“Evergreen” also marks a new pattern of songwriting for Anderson. “I’ve always been comfortable and open with new processes and never sticking to any kind of paradigm for how songs should be written for myself,” says Anderson. “Now, the subject matter is a lot more personal. I think those feelings of admitting truth and feeling empathy for myself helped me to draw out some of my struggles and some of the feelings.”
Musically, the band worked with a producer for the first time, and enlisted Coomer, a big influence for Anderson. “He can really help to draw out a really epic soundscape,” says Anderson.
Now more than a year since the band’s last live show, Bendigo Fletcher are in a new place with Elektra and as a lineup, consisting of Anderson, along with lead guitarist and backing vocalist Andrew Shupert, Evan Wagner (backing vocals, keys, guitar, auxiliary percussion), bassist Conner Powell, and drummer Chris Weis.
“We’re putting our focus into making music just like we always have,” says Anderson. “This break has given us a chance to really value just making music to keep the train rolling, so it’s been bursts of creativity with different subject matter.”
Anderson adds, “I think for me, it was like getting in touch with myself, for the first time in a lot of ways, drawing boundaries between what I think other people’s expectations of me are and stop wasting time and just do it. Everybody has their own journey, and we tend to be critical of how long it takes, but every step of the way is important.”