I am not one to make a trip to Vegas just to go to Vegas. I would rather spend that gambling money on a good dinner or something else with rewards. But when an artist whom you have not seen in a while and one that you love is going to be there your trip is set. Such was the case when Keith Anderson made a stop at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country as part of his tour out West.
The show on March 10th was a benefit for the Police Unity Tour, helping them raise money for their ride from Vegas to the Northeast part of the United States, raising awareness for the police lives that have been lost. Keith has not had new music out since 2010, yet can still bring out the best of who he is with such hits as “C’mon,” “Podunk,” “XXL,” “Wrap Around,” “Wild Girls,” “I Still Miss You,” “I’ll Bring The Music,” and the infamous, “Pickin’ Wildflowers.” The crowd was ready to party and Keith sure did not miss a beat in bringing his A game.
Before the show, we had fun visiting with Keith, catching up on what has been going on with his career, word on any new music and what we can expect for the rest of the year. This is an artist who has a genuine love for what he does, takes pride in it and is as kind as they come.
Since there has been no new music out we were curious as to what he has been up to, if touring is keeping him busy enough and just not the right time.
“The show tonight is a benefit for the Policy Unity Tour. One of my best friends is a policeman and former undercover cop and I’ve always appreciated what the policemen do. Being close friends with him gave me such an insight to what their lives are. Things have surely changed from back years ago, from what they are now, it’s more dangerous cause you never know what to expect. He once told me he felt more comfortable being undercover because they were more prepared when busting into a building or whatever. I’m also an avid mountain biker and just got a deal with Giant Mountain bikes. They just gave me an amazing bike and we are working on some great things together. I have known Chris the owner of Stoney’s for a very long time and he knew how much I respect the police and am into biking so he knew I would want to be a part of this.”
“The Police Unity Tour is a biking event that raises money for policeman to go on a three or four-day ride to go up to the northeast part of United States. We are here tonight to get the money for the entrance fees which is about $1,600 a person. It’s also to raise money and awareness of the violence against police which has been overwhelming these past few years. The police are here to protect everybody, they are not out to get ya.”
When an artist comes to a new venue there can be apprehensions on what to expect. There can be fears along with great anticipation.
“Worst fears are if you never played there that they spent some money and advertised enough. Add to that fear is walking up on stage and not seeing much of anyone out there. Especially since it’s been a few years since we had a big hit. When you’re rockin’ on the hits everybody’s gonna’ show up because every radio station has your music playing along with help from the record label. Thank God there are still a lot of radio stations that are still our friends today who constantly have our backs.”
Keith mentioned how he has thoughts on putting together his own Christmas album with songs he loves and make it something to cherish.
“I love, love Christmas, it’s my favorite time of the year. I got to perform my favorite song ever, “Please Come Home for Christmas” for a compilation that Sony did. There is so much great Christmas music out there that just a month of it is not enough. We put the tree up right after Thanksgiving but I could handle the spirit and the music longer.”
It seems the level of Independent country artists are making a strong comeback. Though the road is not easy without that label support it is getting done.
“Our last album, “I’ll Bring The Noise” from 2015, was self-released and we even had label interest but things changed. I haven’t been going after it hard since then but I do know this, what I’ve been able to do the last couple of years wasn’t common until the last five or six years. It’s like guerilla warfare ever since Napster screwed up everything. The record industry were the worst, they were so arrogant and you really had to fight to continue to love music when you learn about the music industry and business. The business part of the industry can be so hard so you continue to fight for that passion. In the old days, I had really good record deals, but even that, if you took them to the Better Business Bureau they would be surprised how much the labels got away with.”
“But when Napster happened it was like the label never paid attention to it until it was too late. By the time they realized it we were all gettin’ robbed and by the time they shut down Napster there were still ten miles ahead of them doing other things. To this day labels have figured out a way to make that money back but artists sure haven’t. It’s worse for the songwriters who are the last ones to get paid. It’s subscription based and we are payin’ everybody so you tell me for $9.99 a month, you listen to unlimited music, that money is pretty much going directly to the labels. You can’t make money off being a songwriter alone, unless everything you write is going to be a single. Normally they are just going to buy what’s on the radio and not the entire CD.”
“We hope listeners just say enough. Some artists do not write their own stuff so without song writers there is no music. There is some crap out there now and a lot of that crap is when an artist breaks through and they think, ‘Oh I’m a songwriter and I’m gonna’ write now.’ There is still some amazing stuff out there but as a whole it’s takin’ a hit because just cause you’re an artist doesn’t mean you’re a writer. They will bring in some big writers who still write with an artist but it’s still gonna’ be watered down because it’s with an artist who doesn’t know what they’re doing with a great writer or two. There’s a point where these guys know it’s not great but they have to go along with it cause they want their song on that artists record.”
“It’s frustrating cause Nashville used to be known for the one genre of music that really was a true song and wasn’t just about a beat, about a rhythm, about a lyric that gets repeated over and over. Well country music now is about all that stuff and it’s not about a true story that is a beautiful melody. That used to be what set us apart.”
Every artist takes pride in some of their proudest moments in their careers. Not one artist can ever actually name just one.
“The whole process of “Beer Run” happening when I heard that Garth was gonna’ cut it, then I heard George Jones was going to be involved. The morning I woke up with my room mates alarm going off and I heard the song being played on the radio for the first time I came alive. It was probably the quickest and most alert I have ever came out of a deep sleep. Also, lookin’ out at the crowd at some of the big stadium shows or any venue and hearing my songs sung back to me, it was what I dreamt of. Something that you wrote, that came from your heart and hearing it come back to you is amazing.”
“After “Pickin’ Wild Flowers” came out we released “XXL” cause they felt it was notable to have a ‘guys guy” and not just a guy for the gals. An artist that guys can follow and feel it is someone they can have a beer with, laugh with and they’re not going to the concert just cause the girls are there, they can relate to the artist. They wanted to hold out off on the ballads but “XXL” didn’t do too well, it did ok. But the best thing about puttin’ out “Every Time I Hear Your Name,” is to this day, they were worried about putting that one out but it became my biggest hit at that time. I laugh cause they thought it might make me lose my male following. I’ll sing it today and yell out, ‘sing it’ and it’s two ‘bubba’s’ and his two ‘bubba’ friends arm in arm, rockin’ back and forth with their beer in the air singing it cause they can relate. Dudes get hurt too and since they already relate to me they think, ‘Hell I can cry too and this guy’s been hurt and I can be hurt.’”
Careers in any form of life’s choosing can go on a long time or be over in a blink. There are times when one wonders if there is more to what they want to do.
“I haven’t even really started. The way things happened to me, the switching of labels and how quickly things changed. In 2005 I was nominated for Top New Artist and everything was happening. Add to that in 2008 CMA and ACM Song of the Year nomination for the song “Lost In This Moment” which I wrote done by Big & Rich. I was going on tour with everybody and it’s amazing how it’s all about keeping your team together. The marketing team at Arista was gone before the first record was over and you realize how vulnerable those first five years are, no matter what is it, if you don’t have the people still there, no matter if they like you or not, when new people come in they have to make their mark by bringing their own team in.”
“I don’t know what I haven’t done, everything is what I haven’t done, because we chased a dream forever and I was there, then next thing you know, ‘What the hell just happened?’. I feel like there is still so much musically, and vocally song wise. There are so many great outside music ideas that I’m still really heavily getting ready to pursue too, but can only say they are some really fun projects.”
“I feel like I am just about to pick up where I left off and go back where it was supposed to go. Social media has been great for me and I love the feedback from fans, new and ones I have known for a long time. I feel it’s instrumental in why I still tour a lot and still gettin’ the fans at shows. It also helped me with the Giant bike endorsement since I do Tweet about trying to ride when on the road.”
Keith sees his feet pretty firmly planted in his career as to what the rest of the year will bring.
“The rest of the year will definitely have me recordin’ new stuff and once some of this stuff gets wrapped up the flow of creativity may be more that I can keep up with. Plenty of stuff to write about that I have been hanging on to. As a song writer, some of us journal things about things we experience, things we see or hear even if you didn’t write something as a song idea, it may stir something and then it takes you to a different place creatively. I will continue to tour and look forward to a busy year.”
To find out more about the Police Unity Tour in Vegas and follow their journey go to their website and step in if possible to help make a difference. Also, when in Vegas and lookin’ for some Country music fun Stoney’s is never out of great nights of music and whatever else they can bring to the table, it sure is not a dull moment at Stoney’s