(For the fans who want "Just The Music" express pack is a cardboard type sleeve and does not include any liner notes.)
Country music just got a serious shot in the arm. John Anderson, one of the greatest voices in the genre's history, is back. Anderson, who moved to Nashville in the early 1970s and made his first trip to the top of the charts in 1982, returns with Easy Money, his first major label release in what seems like forever.
Anderson's career has ebbed and flowed over the years (a stint with BNA in the early '90s briefly resurrected the singer's career and produced some of his best work), but looked to have finally flatlined. Enter Nashville's boy wonder John Rich, one half of multi-platinum duo Big & Rich. A writing appointment with Rich lead to Anderson joining the hottest writer in Music City on the road for more writing sessions and culminated in Anderson's new disc, on Warner imprint Raybaw.
Old-school fans who love Anderson's raw edge will be pleased to know that Rich, who also produced the new album, hasn't tried to modernize Anderson's sound. The former Lonestar singer just put the paddles to Anderson's chest and shocked his outlaw heart back to life. "Funky Country," a wiry guitared number that stomps hard and incorporates a booming bottom end reminiscent of Big & Rich, is as far outside the lines as Rich takes Anderson, which turns out to be not that far all.
Whether he's kicking down love's door, on the barroom brawl "If Her Lovin' Don't Kill Me," or shuffling through a romantic fog, on the steel accentuated "You Already Know My Love," Anderson is in the best vocal shape of his life. The fiddle stoked titled cut, "Easy Money," is a blast of hard country. Anderson digs deep into southern soil and comes up with a handful of country-rock grit. Quivering B-3 organ and chunky rhythm guitars shoot out the lights around Anderson's meaty vocals.
The album may rock like the Love Boat in places, but Anderson makes room for softer and more melodic fare. The sorrowful "Weeds," an acoustically sketched cut, finds the singer yanking the hurt from his heart and trying hard to move on from a failed relationship. "A Woman Knows" pulls back the sheet on a marriage thick with infidelity. Groaning steel guitar licks and plaintive fiddle fills match Anderson's tortured vocals. "She'll stay with him no matter what she chooses not to see," he sings.
If label heads in Nashville woke up with bruises on their arms recently, it probably came courtesy of John Anderson. Easy Money might just ignite another traditional wild fire on Music Row, and that would be a good thing.
By Todd Sterling
|Number of Discs:||1|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.09|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||4.95 x 1.13 x 5.58|
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