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John Anderson

Bayou Boys – 2015 (Bayou Boys)

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

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CDs by John Anderson

Unlike some country music stars have when they reached a certain age, John Anderson chooses to not rest on his laurels. Instead the 60-year-old member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame continues to release new recordings - although not as frequently as in his chart-topping heyday of 1980-1995 - featuring largely original numbers. While radio airplay may not be as once plentiful - 5 number ones, and over 20 top 20 single appearances - Anderson continues to produce songs that sound like they should be heard from pickups all summer long.

Mid-set, the good ol' boy, 'gator and hog huntin' anthem "Louisiana Son of a Beast" recalls the type of song that Anderson once found great success with. In an entirely different vein, "Holdin' On" itemizes the challenges of the working man, much as country songs have long done. "I Will Cross O'er the River" is a modern classic, a dying song that could have been recorded by The Carter Family.

"Back Home" is predictable, but this tale of a spectral visitor who returns to accompany his mother on her final journey is beautifully rendered, in no small part due to the vocal and emotional gravitas Anderson possesses; it's the type of delivery that makes eyes well. Whether this or any of the other excellent songs - including the title track and "Song the Mountain Sings" - will find wide-spread commercial airplay is unknown, but there is no doubting the quality of "Goldmine's" strongest cuts.

As on his last album "Bigger Hands," Anderson is in excellent voice throughout "Goldmine's" 13 tracks. His distinctive vocal style continues to serve him well, with little deterioration noticeable.

No doubt the album has filler. A new Merle Haggard song, "Magic Mama," isn't going to be mistaken for "Mama Tried," and the flag-waving "Freedom Isn't Free" is too obvious. Anderson and co-writter Josh Turner are better than the grammatically challenged initial single "I Work Alot [sic] Better" would suggest.

With great instrumentation throughout - plenty of fiddle, guitar and drums working together to propel, but not overwhelm his performances - John Anderson has found the inspiration to produce another enjoyable slice of his traditional country stylings.