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John Anderson

Country music legend John Anderson has recorded 24 albums, won numerous awards and notched 20 Top 10 country singles. His latest album celebrates more than four decades of John Anderson music, revisiting hits and mixing in recent songs that speak to his artistry and outlook. Anderson will bring this history of music to the stage of the Cole Auditorium with his signature hit “Swingin,’” plus others like “Seminole Wind,” “Straight Tequila Night,” “Money In The Bank” and “Black Sheep.”

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Before Ricky Skaggs, George Strait and Randy Travis were household names, John Anderson was Nashville’s young and hard-charging traditionalist, devoted to extending the legacies forged by Haggard, Jones and Cash, and loathe to compromise when he knew he was right. And, when it came to making music, he knew he was right.

Anderson signed with Warner Bros. in 1976 and set about making music that would gain notice from legends. Merle Haggard heard him early on and invited him on the bus for a heart-to-heart.

Anderson grew up in Central Florida. He worked in the orange groves and took a gig as a plumber's helper before he relented to the pull music had on his 17-year-old heart. Anderson left his home and headed 700 miles northwest to Nashville.

It was the summer of 1972, when songwriting legends walked the streets and pounded the pinball machines. Anderson wanted in, even if it meant living on wages that didn’t provide for essentials like bait and shotgun shells. He took a job as a construction laborer, working on a newfangled building called the Grand Ole Opry House.

Not long after taking the job, he got a raise: They raised him up to the roof, where he thought about how the Nashville wind blows cold and where he stared down at a big, deep hole, with rebars sticking up. That hole would soon become a stage, and that stage was where Anderson wanted to be.

Turns out, he made it to the Opry stage and far beyond. He made it with a voice that was traditional enough to make Emmylou Harris wonder if Anderson might be a distant relative of Lefty Frizzell, yet that was, and is, instantly identifiable. He made it with original music that landed him in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and with radio hits including chart-toppers “Swingin,’” “Straight Tequila Night,” “Wild and Blue,” “Black Sheep,” and “Money in the Bank.”

At the time “Your Lying Blue Eyes” came out, Anderson was playing with house bands around the South. The song became his first Top 20 hit, and soon the name “John Anderson” on a roadside club sign was enough to fill up a parking lot with Trans Ams and pickup trucks. A string of hits ensued with “1959,” “Chicken Truck,” “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories” and “Would You Catch a Falling Star” leading up to his breakthrough, the John Scott Sherrill-penned “Wild and Blue.” That song was the title track of an album that included Anderson’s first million-selling single, “Swingin,’” written with old friend and running partner Lionel Delmore.

After nearly a decade with out a chart topper, Anderson penned "Seminole Wind."

“I wanted to write a song about where I’m from that I could always be proud of, and, by golly, I was pretty sure I’d done it,” he said.

“Seminole Wind” was quickly recognized as a country music classic, and Anderson was back at the front of a line of traditional singers whose successes had been enabled in part by Anderson’s initial radio ascent.

His recent album, which captures his musical journey over the past four decades, is a cause for reflection, and Anderson’s reflections are of a life thus far well-lived, doing what he set out to do, all those years ago.

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