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Bill Anderson

A Lot Of Things Different – 2001 (Varese Sarabande)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Bill Anderson

With his well-deserved induction into Country Music's Hall of Fame, Bill Anderson's profile is on the rise. So this disc, self-released last year, finally gets into stores. Anderson remains a vital songwriter, and two of this album's new songs have already received major covers ("Too Country" by Brad Paisley, and the title track by Kenny Chesney). The opening "Love Is A Fragile Thing" is an even more likely hit. Also on board are a couple of his old songs, including "When Two Worlds Collide," which gave co-writer Roger Miller his first smash in 1961.

Don't let the title fool you. Anderson isn't doing anything differently. Unlike his '60's peers Anderson hasn't lost his vocal range, since he never really had any. He's whispering as well as ever - and also writing as well as ever. Even at his most sentimental, Anderson always seems real where other writers may get mawkish. And when he's funny, as in the music-biz satire "Back When He Was Hungry," Anderson is scathingly funny. "Too Country," adopted by some as an anthem for traditional music, is really more about a way of life which is fading away. It's that old-fashioned simpler life which Anderson continues to wonderfully symbolize in his music.