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Heartland -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By CRYSTAL CAVINESS, United Press International   |   Dec. 6, 2002 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

NASHVILLE, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- One verse and there's no doubt as to the man behind the music when John Anderson sings.

With his signature voice in top shape, Anderson, 47, gives his fans a concert full of music on his latest release, "Anthology." The two-CD set is packed with 30 Anderson tunes, fare from a typical show.

"This is a ... compilation of the first three greatest hits packages with a couple of crowd favorites we've found through the years," Anderson said recently from his publicist's Nashville office about his 23rd release. "If you come to hear us on a decent night in a decent setting, this is a whole lot of what you'll hear."

Rather than record the music from the stage, Anderson and his longtime band went to the studio and re-recorded each track.

"This is new music," Anderson said.

One of the reasons Anderson decided to record "Anthology" was to showcase his band. "They are by far the best band that I've had the pleasure of playing with," he said.

The music, of course, includes "Swingin'," "Seminole Wind," "Money in the Bank" and "Straight Tequila Night" -- the biggest of the hits that Anderson has recorded in his 25-year career.

Anderson also put some of his favorites on the project, such as "Occasional Eagle."

"That's just a real nice piece of music," he said.

Anderson's career biography to date is one of the more interesting in the country music business, filled with the ups and downs of real life.

A native of Orlando, Fla., Anderson moved to Nashville in 1971 and stayed with his sister, Donna, a songwriter. Six years later, he signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. In 1980, he was nominated as best new artist by the Academy of Country Music. His early hits included "1959" and "I'm an Old Lump of Coal," which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1981.

Two years later, in 1983, Anderson's career burst wide open with a song he and Lionel Delmore wrote called "Swingin'."

The No. 1 tune became the top-selling single in Warner's history at that time and earned Anderson a mantle full of awards, including Country Music Association's single of the year. "Swingin'" continues to be a jukebox favorite and one of country music's biggest hits.

"You can't hardly say enough about that song," Anderson said.

Just as quickly as Anderson's career peaked in the '80s, he seemingly evaporated as the decade closed.

In 1992, Anderson signed with BNA Records and began working with renowned producer James Stroud. The two produced "Seminole Wind," a record that would take Anderson to new levels, both as a singer and a songwriter.

"Seminole Wind" sold more than a million copies and produced numerous hits, including "Straight Tequila Night," "Let Go of the Stone," "When it Comes to You" and the title track.

Because of the success of "Seminole Wind," Anderson earned nominations for best male vocalist, song of the year and video of the year by the Country Music Association. In 1994, the Academy of Country Music gave Anderson a career achievement award.

In the years following "Seminole Wind," Anderson has recorded a steady stream of records, but has not revisited the mega-stardom that he experienced in the mid-'90s.

Anderson is not complaining.

"It's a relief to not worry about who's record does what," Anderson said. "I thank the Lord that enough of the fans have stayed with us through the years to keep us going."

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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