Sunday, 21 September, 2008 12:26 PM
Keith Anderson has One Word for
Fans: C'MON! (CMA)
by Jack Guy
recording artist Keith Anderson
2008 CMA Close Up News Service
Keith Anderson is living
his dreams. It wasn't all that long ago that the Oklahoma native
was working the Dallas club circuit with his band and dreaming of
having a record deal. But Aug. 5, Anderson followed his debut album,
the Gold-certified Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll,
with C'MON! on Columbia Nashville - and it's no accident that he
spells the name of his sophomore album and its opening track in
capital letters with an exclamation point.
"You've got to say
it loud . C'MON!," he insisted. "I chose this as the title
for a number of reasons. One, it says to my fans, 'Hey, we're gonna
have more of the same on this album. Second, if you're not familiar
with my music, it's an invite to c'mon and jump on the bandwagon,
give it a chance, 'cause I think you're gonna like this party. It's
such a rockin' intro to the album that we open our shows with it
Despite its rollicking
introduction, this album actually offers a revealing look at the
life of this singer/songwriter who's co-written hits for other artists
that include Gretchen Wilson's "The Bed" and Big &
Rich's "Lost in This Moment." Anderson and producer Jeffrey
Steele were both going through some life-changing issues when they
started collaborating on it.
"Jeffrey's son had
died in a tragic accident," Anderson said, referring to 13-year-old
Alex Levasseur's death after an all-terrain-vehicle mishap Jan.
28, 2007. "Four months later, my mom got diagnosed with brain
cancer. We're still dealing with that. So this album is a reflection
of where we were emotionally and mentally. I was singing with more
passion, so the album probably did take a more introspective point
of view than we did on the first one, just because of where we were
at the time."
Because he and Steele
were able to go deeper and ask some pretty hard questions through
this music, Anderson thinks C'MON! will succeed even more than his
first album. "I put a few songs on here that I wouldn't have
put on a Keith Anderson party album," he admitted. "As
hard as it was [to go through personal issues as part of the creative
process], I think we came up with something really special."
Anderson's first single
from C'MON!, "I Still Miss You," became the fastest-rising
hit of his career. Though it's about a breakup at first listen,
feedback from his fans has inspired Anderson to appreciate it now
at a whole new level.
"When I wrote the
song with Jason Sellers and Tim Nichols, we were pulling from the
emotions of losing a girlfriend," he explained. "But after
finding out about my mom and then hearing about how other people
were reminded of someone they lost - a friend, parent, son or daughter
- it's kind of taken on a new meaning for me and other people."
Nichols and Sellers typify
the top-quality talents who have come to welcome the opportunity
to work with Anderson, whose name appears as a co-writing credit
on 10 of the album's 11 tracks alongside such heavyweights as Chuck
Cannon, Bob DiPiero, Vicky McGehee, Rivers Rutherford and Steele.
"I've always been
a fan of the people who wrote the songs," Anderson said. "My
whole life I've dreamed of being a songwriter, so I studied them
before I moved here. I knew their names before their faces because
to this day, when I buy a record, I take the insert out to see who
wrote the songs. I love the craft and the songwriting process. So
now I've gotten to write with most of those guys, most of my heroes,
and become friends with them, so it really has been a dream come
true for me."
Anderson had been a fan
of Boy Howdy, Steele's band back in the 1980s, and had performed
a lot of their music in Texas. So one part of that dream became
reality when they met at a writer's night, shortly after Anderson
moved to Nashville.
"I went up and introduced
myself that night and we hit it off," Anderson said. "Jeffrey
invited me to his place the next day and we ended up writing songs
right away. It was more of a casual meeting. We had fun, we laughed
- it was like hanging out with my brother. Jeffrey has this energy
he brings to the table that you just can't fabricate. It's a constant
love of making music. My relationship with him is the same kind
of chemistry I have with my brothers, just cracking each other up
- that same sense of humor."
"Keith is a great
guy and a good friend," Steele said. "I think he's singing
great on this album. You know he was on the road for a long time
and sometimes that ruins a singer's voice. With Keith, it just made
When sessions began for
C'MON!, they had to be scheduled around Anderson's ongoing tour
schedule. "We just took our time," Steele recounted. "If
he got tired in the studio, we'd break and come back later. We didn't
rush it, so we have ended up with a really good project with some
That sensitivity to Anderson's
energy onstage is a major reason why they agreed to work together
on C'MON! "We were making demos of the songs we wrote to pitch
to other artists, and they had more energy than the other things
I was recording," Anderson said. "When we started looking
for someone to produce me, we went into the studio with a few producers,
but none of them were able to capture what I do live, which is a
big part of my musical equation - that big, high-energy party. That's
something that Jeffrey just does naturally in the studio, so we
tried a few things and it just worked."
It worked so well that
they cut 17 songs - more than they needed. "I will say there
are songs I thought would make the record that didn't," Anderson
said, "and songs I wouldn't have imagined putting on it that
we ended up cutting."
Two of those extra songs
are being made available on a special version of the album sold
exclusively through Best Buy. One of them is "Jake's Goin'
All the Way," which Anderson and Steele wrote for the CMT series
"Unsung Heroes." The other is the original version of
"Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?)," which was
a hit for Garth Brooks and George Jones. Anderson recorded it as
he wrote it, faster and rockin' harder than the treatment given
to it by Brooks and Jones.
"Thank God for Garth
and George," he said. "That song changed my life - and
my account balance and my address. But we do the original version
at my shows, and the fans have been asking where they can get a
copy of it. So we're putting it on as a bonus track."
The only other outside
track on C'MON! is "Crazy Over You." Including this Foster
& Lloyd hit was a no-brainer for Anderson, since he had performed
much of their material back throughout the club circuit in Dallas.
In turn, Bill Lloyd and Radney Foster showed their respect for Anderson
by joining him as he cut this track. "I owned all their cassettes
and I saw them three or four times when I lived there," Anderson
said. "I love their vibe. I'm a big fan of their writing and
"Overall, we know we picked the right songs for C'MON!,"
he added. "It has taken a long time to get it out there, but
it also gave us the opportunity to go back in and remix something
or do a vocal track over if we felt that we needed to. It's great
to look at it and know it's the best product we could put out there.
It has been hard to wait, because I'm like a racehorse at the gate.
I'm glad it's going to finally get out there."
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recording artist Keith Anderson
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