To put it simply, John Anderson is one of the greatest country music singers to ever step up to the microphone, possessing one of the most instantly recognizable vocal instruments in the history of the genre.
On his latest album Goldmine, released on his own Bayou Boys label, Anderson has completed a long overdue record of original songs. The award-winning songwriter wrote or co-wrote 12 of the album's 13 tracks. That will bring joy to the hearts of some of the most devoted fans in country music. Goldmine is also a record that, given the current state if contemporary country, could, like Cash and Haggard before him, find a home amid lovers of authentic music of any genre. Though he would never compare himself to his heroes, the fact is, John Anderson is now the standard bearer for traditional country music, of the 100 Proof variety.
Raised in Apopka, Fla., Anderson was exposed to both rock and traditional country growing up and, as incendiary rock outfits like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Lynyrd Skynyrd honed their chops around him, learned to love (and play) both types of music. But Anderson resisted the call of rock 'n roll, electing rather to pursue his country music dreams. It was the traditional country ballads that lured him in and changes music history, songs like Porter Waggoner's "Green, Green Grass of Home." "I loved those type of ballads," Anderson says, "to the point I didn't want to get away from it.
Anderson moved to Nashville in 1972, working contruction by day (including as a roofer at the Grand Ole Opry House) and playing the honky-tonks at night. He signed to Warner Bros. in 1977, and notching his first major hit in 1980 with Billy Jo Shaver's "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)." Other hits, including the classic "Wild and Blue" in 1982, solidified his status as a powerful new voice in country music. "Swingin'," written by Anderson and Lionel Delmore, blew the roof off a year later, exploding to No.1 on the Billboard Country chart, propelling Anderson to the CMA Horizon Award, and becoming one of the most enduring hits in the country canon.
Anderson plowed through the ebbs and flows of country music (and the country music business) throughout the '80s, and in the early 1990s engineered one of the greatest "comeback" runs (he never really left) in the history of the genre. Seminole Wind, released on BNA, produced hit singles in "Straight Tequila Night," "When It Comes To You," "Money in the Bank," and the stirring title cut. The latter would have never been released had Anderson not stuck to his guns, a familiar refrain throughout his career as the artist has wound his way through virtually all of Nashville's major labels.
No such clashed occurred in creating Goldmine, an album cut with the artist in complete control. Produced by Anderson with longtime collaborator Joe Spivey, Goldmine is an artist a