You can't really say Eric Andersen's 20-year career is on an upswing. In the '60s, Andersen was in the thick of the East Coast folk boom. In the '70s he made the unjustly neglected "Blue River" LP, then slowly faded from sight, and now he's releasing mail-order records on his own label. But old folkies are nothing if not resilient, and on Saturday night Andersen drew a respectable crowd to McCabe's and made his first local show in years a pleasant, comfortable one for fans of acoustic guitars and introspective romanticism.
Comfortable is the key word here: With his warm, breathy voice and his casual air, Andersen simply seems like a heck of a nice guy with some funny stories to tell and lots of real pretty songs to sing. At his best, though, he laces that prettiness and soothing romanticism with enough cutting erotic and fatalistic undercurrents to give the songs real staying power.