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
Raised in Apopka, Fla. 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.
Beyond the inspired vocals and ambitions songwriting (Anderson was inducted to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on Oct. 5, 2014),
“I’m real lucky that songs like ‘Swingin’ or ‘Seminole Wind’ ever even got on the record or were released as singles, and the people that were working with me at the time could tell you that’s true,” he says, recalling epic studio battles fought, “strictly over the music and the songs. It wasn’t because I was an ass or an addict or nothing else. Strictly over the music. And if it ever comes up again, I’ll still fight like hell for the music. The difference is, now I can fight with myself. So it’s becoming quite the short fight.”
Perhaps, and a long, storied journey. In a Country Music Hall of Fame-worthy career that has produced 23 albums, more than 60 singles (20 reaching the Top 10), and a wealth of industry awards, Goldmine proves that there’s still a lot of gold in John Anderson. Now, two decades past the dizzying heights of Seminole Wind, Anderson’s motivations have shifted fully from commercial aspirations to unimpeded artistic integrity. “At this point, it’s just for me and the fans,” he says. “A best-case scenario for me is that the fans that have loved our music and have supported us for many years, if they know Goldmine is out there and can get it, I’ll be happy.”
Anderson knows in his heart that fans of traditional country music “could use a record like this really bad right now,” he asserts. “People ask what’s happened to country music, well, nothing’s happened to it. It’s just being overshadowed by ‘bro country’ right now. I’m just glad they found a name for it.”
An unrepentant road dog, Anderson’s touring career has never wavered, as he and his crack band play to packed houses filled with “the most loyal fans anybody ever have, and I do indeed appreciate them supporting our music for all these years,” he says. “Their love of the music, has only gotten better.”
He adds that it’s still a thrill when he hears the words, “Ladies and gentlemen, John Anderson,” and marvels that, more often than not, the crowds stands up and cheer on just those words. “That’s something in my younger days I never really dreamed I’d see,” he says with a laugh, “a standing ovation before ever you ever open your mouth. Man, sometimes you just want to wave and smile real big, ‘thank you very much, I don’t guess we can beat that. That was great, God bless, and thank you, have a good evening!’”
In short, though the creative fires still burn, John Anderson is a satisfied man, confident in his art, as evidenced in the power of Goldmine, a record done on his terms. “All those people I fought with over the music, most of them are dead now, or retired, they don’t even have nothing to do with music now,” he says. “I’m still plowing away, man, and I love it”