John Anderson Right On-Line

Originally published in the December 1994 edition of "Roadhouse Music Magazine"

John Anderson is pure country, and the title track on his new album "Country Til I Die" gets right to the point. After recording 17 country albums during his 22 years in Nashville there is no doubt in my mind that when Anderson sings the line "every bone in my body is countrified" he is telling the truth. Anderson has one of those rare singing voices that is instantly recognizable, but prosperity didn't come overnight for him.

The singer first came to Nashville in 1972. Soon he found work at the Grand Old Opry, not as a performer, but as a construction worker high above the stage. Anderson kept true to his dream and continued to hone his distinctive yet traditional vocal style in his spare time.

His hard work began to pay off during the early 1980's as country music began to rebound from the pop fluff of the urban cowboy movement, and began to focus instead on its roots. In 1983 he was rewarded with the Horizon Award for best new artist by the C.M.A., but it would be another ten years until he became a household name.

After joining BNA Entertainment in 1992, Anderson struck it big with his fifteenth album, the platinum selling "Seminole Wind." A year later he followed with the Gold "Solid Ground." His recent success has allowed him to cut back on his touring.

Anderson says, "In the past I had to work all year 'round just to make ends meet." John has used some of his new found free time to concentrate on writing songs. There are more original compositions on "Country 'till I Die" than any of his previous albums.

The second track on the album "Bend it until it Breaks" is a romance song about a man trying to hang onto a troubled relationship, "You say it's the last time, but it never ends," sings Anderson. "Bend it until it Breaks" has much more than a casual resemblance to the catchy 1992 single "Seminole Wind." The introduction to "Bend it until it Breaks" uses the exact same chord progression as "Seminole Wind." Naturally this leads to a similar sound in the melodies of both songs, but "Bend it until it Breaks" does not falter due to the reuse of a classic progression.

The only cover song on the album is "Keep Your Hands To Yourself," a remake of the Georgia Satellites monster smash hit from the 1980's. This song, written by Dan Baird, is every bit as rockin' as the original and is right up Anderson's alley. He is one of the few vocalists who can convincingly tackle the warbling yodel that makes this song catchy.

Anderson is particularly talented at expressing sensitivity in his songs. "Where The Children Have Gone," a song he co-wrote with Lionel Delmore is an evocative ballad about his two young daughters and their developing independence.

On "Country 'Till I Die" Anderson does an up-tempo, big production remake of his 1983 hit "Swingin'," This classic song has now passed the Beatles' "Hey Jude" to reach #30 on the all time jukebox play list. Anderson says that the new version is directed towards the "young fans who (heard the song and ) didn't realize we were the ones who sang it."

For fans of down home country music that John Anderson has been playing for the last two decades, this is an album to add to your collection. For persons looking for pop style top 40 material "Country 'til I Die" might not be the right choice.

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