John Anderson Admits He’s a Fan of New Country Artists
John Anderson had his first Top 20 hit in 1979 with “Your Lying Blue Eyes,” from his self-titled freshman album, and remained steadily on the charts for the next 25 years. But while country music has certainly changed substantially in the past couple of decades, the 60-year-old says that he is a fierce advocate of the shifts in the genre.
“I like some of it. And I’m glad to see the other people involved,” Anderson tells The Boot. “I remember when I started playing country music, I was the only cat in the whole place, the only young person, almost. And, back then, I thought to myself, ‘Maybe we could play some music and write some songs that attract some younger folks. Maybe they want to boogie a little bit.’ So we boogied a little.”
The tunesmith says that, just as he perhaps is an influence for the new wave of country artists, he was also influenced by some of the hitmakers that preceded him.
“If it weren’t for Waylon [Jennings] and Willie [Nelson], and some of those people really breaking down musical doors and changing things, especially here in Nashville, there would have never been room for a little old long-haired kid from Florida to come up here and think that he could change anything either,” Anderson says.
“But seeing those guys — Waylon Jennings from 1968 to say, ’76, his career and the music that he put out during that time, some of the coolest stuff ever in our genre, probably,” he continues. “And then came Willie. Willie was right there pretty much with him. Willie’s cool streak kind of started with “Red Headed Stranger.””
Because of the artists that influenced him, Anderson was also able to help usher in a new wave of fans, who may have never been interested in country music otherwise.
“I feel like we just hung in there and were able to keep playing our stuff,” he notes. “And, maybe it bridged some of the gap. I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘Man, you’re the guy that turned me on to country music.’ And a lot of those people, that are my age, would have probably been rockers all their life, if they hadn’t gotten turned on to some real good country music, so maybe we helped a little bit.”