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It has been nine years since country singer, John Anderson last released an album of new music but the wait is over. "Goldmine" is the new 13 track album from the country great that delivers some of the best music he has ever done. John co-wrote 12 of the 13 songs on the album and you immediately can hear his trademark style. Here is what John had to say about the album cut by cut:
“Freedom Isn’t Free,” (John D. Anderson, James C. Hicks, Sr.) A stirring anthem that is already bringing fans to their feet when performed live. “This is the one we’ve played the most live. I wrote that with Jim Hicks, an old friend. We’ve been friends, Jim and I, since the first grade. We were raised together, our fathers were both in the service and in the same hunting club when we grew up. That song is a statement about how we were raised, and how that way of life seems to be becoming rare these days. Lord forbid that way of life becomes rare in the United States, because we won’t be a free country any more. It’s just about standing up for what you believe in. There’s a line in there that says, ‘where I come from it’s an unwritten law/you don’t back a man up against the wall/and everybody answers to the call/when it’s time to fight.’ That shit ain’t happening. Sorry! And it worries me. It needed saying, probably needed saying 20 years ago.
“Back Home” (John D. Anderson, Jimmy Stevens) A powerful, stirring look at mortality and validation that there’s more in play than meets the eye, delivered in the inimitable Anderson classic country style. “I love this song. I wrote it with a boy named Jimmy Stevens, we were working on this first verse, the way writers do, and just about the time we ironed that first verse out, the whole bridge came to me, the melody and the words, without ever stopping. I couldn’t hardly write it down fast enough. It’s usually a little tougher than that. My sister Karen is a late night nurse, and the more we wrote this song I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I told her I wrote it with her in mind, and evidently when she heard it, it broke her up. But, it’s very true, you’d be surprised. Doctors and people in this line of work that actually deal with life and death, laying right there on a table or bed, you should hear the stories they tell. A wonderful friend of mine is a heart doctor who saved my life up in Charleston, West Virginia, named Dr. James Stanton. He’s one of the brightest men I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I remember him saying, ‘John, stories like that happen all the time in the heart attack business.’ ‘Back Home’ is some of that old style country, but a lot of that music really impacted me coming along. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t become an all out rock ‘n roller, because I loved those types of ballads, the ‘Green, Green Grass of Home,’ to the point I didn’t want to get away from it. Otherwise, I’d have probably been a hard-core rock ‘n roller.
“Goldmine” (John D. Anderson, Josh Turner) Another mid-temple ballad that recalls Anderson classics like “I’ve Got It Made.” Josh Turner and I co-wrote that one, too. We can write real well together, we’ve written several good songs. Sometimes the ideas are his, sometimes they’re mine. At that point, when we wrote this one, I think we were probably writing for his record. The pay’s better.
“Happily Ever After” (John D. Anderson, James C. Hicks, Sr.) A stirring take on a fairy tale romance, with a haunting melody and brilliant musicality. The melancholy instrumentation juxtapose against the romance of the tender vocal and lyrics. I like this one a lot. However, I’ve been criticized already on this one, and I don’t know why they can’t put the two together, the melody and the words, it’s like, ‘oh, that’s sad’. It really isn’t sad. I was playing that melody for my buddy Jim Hicks, he says, ‘what are you doing there?’ I said, ‘nothing.’ He said, ‘no, that’s something’. And it was something. If you break it down and see where it’s all at, yeah, it was something. But I’d have never caught it. There’s no telling how many times before in writing I’ve played something like it, and wrote it off as nothing, because it’s kind of a familiar change there. Except for when it goes off into that little spot, which makes it completely different. To me, it did sound very ‘fairy tale-ish.’ It’s got a Brothers Grimm aspect to it. This was a great example of where I sat down and played it on guitar very simply, and the players would build and play around it. The keyboards from Gary Smith on this record are one of the most outstanding parts, and actually Gary ended up joining my band. He ended up passing away the first of December. However this record does or doesn’t do, there will always be a little sadness in it for me knowing this was the last I’ll be working Gary forever.
“I Work a Lot Better When You Turn Me On” (John D. Anderson, Josh Turner) A rollicking mid-tempo in the style of hits like “Money in the Bank.” “’Honey-doin’ motivated this one. And Josh Turner, actually it was his idea. Josh is a fine young man, a great talent, and a real asset to modern-day country music.”
“I Will Cross O’er The River” (John D. Anderson) A contemplative take on mortality and the hereafter, destined to bring tears at funerals for decades. “You know it ain’t forever. You’re gonna cross that river. You may end up in the shade of the trees, you may end up stuck in the damn mud right there on the bank. I was thinking that the whole time I wrote this song, ‘I hope my ass ain’t stuck in the mud.’ If people like it, that’s good enough. Surely Vince Gill don’t have that funeral market all sewed up.”
“Louisiana Son of a Beast” (John D. Anderson, Bill Emerson, Jody Emerson) A transcendent intro sets up wild and woolly slice of life, swamp people style, with John Anderson personality and charisma to spare. The intro came from us guys, just us talking, ‘let’s try it and see if it’ll work.’ It worked. That’s Chad Cromwell playing the drums, it’s almost like a Tyrannosaurus walking through the woods, knockin’ trees over. I’d give most of the credit on this song to Bill and Jody Emerson, two of my songwriting mentors. They had the song pretty well written, they’re great songwriters and two of my teachers.
“Song the Mountain Sings” (John D. Anderson, Buddy Cannon) A modern day masterpiece. That’s me and Buddy, who’s a great songwriter, producer and talent here in town. We’ve had the chance to get together and write a few songs, and this is one of ‘em. I like the melody and everything about it, really. I sure hope Buddy likes our arrangement of it. A lot of my songs, when you break ‘em down, they’re a lot like this, but when you add what we add, they turn into different things.
“Holdin’ On” (John D. Anderson, Jimmy Stevens) A deep, dark take on rock bottom, reminiscent of “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories.” That’s just classic country music. When we finished that one, I think my words were, ‘anybody that don’t like that can kiss my ass.’ It was one take, too, and all that piano and my singing was pretty much live. I know my fans can relate to it, because they have been relating to it.
“On and On and On…” (John D. Anderson, Jimmy Fortune) A sweeping, bittersweet contemplation on a life, as only John Anderson can deliver it. This is one of my favorites on the record, it’s got a little mystique to it, a ‘wonder why’ kind of message. Is it happy or is it sad? I don’t really know any more, it’s for whoever wants it. I wrote this one with Jimmy Fortune, a great talent, and I think Jimmy’s like me, he don’t know what it’s about, either.
“Don’t Forget to Thank the Lord” (John D. Anderson, John Rich) Another crowd pleaser, this one’s a wakeup call from Big John. We love the Lord, the Lord has blessed and watched over us all these years. I wrote that with Brother John Rich, his dad was a preacher, it’s coming from there, too. I’ve always loved the Lord and been very thankful He’s allowed me to do what I do. That’s a pretty good message for anybody, no matter whether they like the song or not. Nowadays, they want to separate it, it’s either country or gospel, not much country gospel. I grew up listening to all that, all the way form Lester & Earl singing their gospel, to the Hee Haw Quartet, which I learned later was kind of an off-spin of the old Browns Ferry Four. They had the same kind of arrangements, and Granpaw Jones was a member. He knew a lot more about music than a lot of people think.
“You All Are Beautiful” (John D. Anderson, James C. Hicks, Sr.) A moving tribute to fan loyalty that grows more powerful on repeated listening. I gotta give Jim a lot of credit for that one. He asked me, “have you ever written a song for your fans?” I’m like, “what are you talking about?” It seemed strange at that point, hell all of ‘em are for the fans. He says, “no, I mean for the fans. You need to write a song for your fans.” We haven’t played that one live yet, that’s one I’m gonna drop on ‘em when it’s just right.
If I had to pick a few favorites of mine from the new album they would be:
"Back Home" tells the story of a night shift nurse who is taking care of Mrs. Johnson. One night while checking her vitals a young man appears in the doorway and introduces himself as Joe, the elderly woman's son. He says he went off to war when he was 21 years old and has not seen his mom for a long time. He tells the nurse that he is there to take his mom home. What a terrific song, it only took a few seconds for me to compare it to John's hit, "I Wish I Could Have Been There." A real gem that melts your heart.
"Goldmine" is a bout a man confessing his undying love to the woman in his life. He tells her that having her is like having a Goldmine. This is a lively little tune that is very catchy and it should be a real crowd pleaser when sung live.
"I Work Alot Better" is another lively tune and it is also the lead single off the new album. Compared to other songs in is a bit shorter time wise but is still just as catchy as the rest and I can see why it was selected to lead off the album.
“You All Are Beautiful” is just John telling his fans how much he loves and appreciates them all. No other singer could relay that message as good as John. The song closes out the album and it leaves you smiling and wanting more.
“Freedom Isn’t Free” is a patriotic song that opens the album in fine fashion. John claims it is a favorite with fans at his shows and I can certainly see why.
"Goldmine" takes me back to John's major comeback record, "Seminole Wind." We all know how great the album was but I think John has really outdone himself here. This album is full of great ballads and uptempo tunes that reminds us how great this legend is. It is very hard nowadays to get any kind of radio support if you are an older act but make no mistake about it, "Goldmine" is one of the best albums this year. The CD comes out on June 26th so make sure you pick it up and support one of the best voices and songwriters in the business today. You can pre-order the CD HERE and the MP3 version HERE.
Released by Bayou Boys Music Group
***** Out Of *****