JAM Magazine Main Features

Keith Anderson - Country Fever 2008 - Jun. 12-15

The Kansas City Royals Loss Was Country Music’s Gain

Oklahoma native Keith Anderson was a part-time musician and an all-star baseball player at Oklahoma State University when, in the late 1980s, he was scouted by the Kansas City Royals, who put him on their draft list. A shoulder injury soon put an end to any thoughts of major league glory. Though it was a crushing end to a lifelong dream, it opened a new chapter in the singer’s life.

Growing up in Miami, Okla., Anderson was an athlete first and musician second. In fact, he learned how to play the guitar only as a teenager because someone told him girls had the thing for musicians. At Oklahoma State, Anderson excelled in both baseball and the classroom. He maintained a 3.9 grade point average, and earned a degree in engineering, while impressing the Kansas City Royals with his diamond skills.

After his aspirations for baseball glory ended with some regret, Anderson moved to Dallas and began writing country songs. He became a regular performer at the Grapevine Opry and Six Flags over Texas, while supplementing his income as a model and delivering singing telegrams. Anderson moved to Nashville in 1998 and spent several years establishing himself as a songwriter.

“It took me four years to get my first publishing deal and eight years to make my first record,” marveled Anderson. “But those years spent honing my craft also gave me a chance to really learn the art of songwriting.”

The apprenticeship paid off in a big way. In 2001, Anderson co-wrote the Grammy-nominated song “Beer Run (B Double E Double R U N?)” for Garth Brooks and George Jones. In 2004, an unknown singer named Gretchen Wilson recorded his song, “The Bed” for her debut album, Here for the Party. To date, the album has sold over five million units. This past year, Big & Rich made a No. 1 hit of an Anderson song “Lost in This Moment.” The song would go on to earn the Oklahoma native Country Music Association and American Country Music Song of the Year nominations.

In 2005, Anderson recorded his first solo album, Three Chord Country and American Rock Roll, producing the hits “Pickin’ Wildflowers”, “Every Time I Hear Your Name”, “XXL” and “Podunk”. The album went gold, and its success prompted Billboard and Radio & Records magazines to name the singer country music’s top new male artist.

Anderson had more than just music attracting crowds to his show. His model looks and commitment to bodybuilding (he once came in second at the Mr. Oklahoma bodybuilding competition) led him to develop a sizable female fan base. It didn’t hurt that People magazine voted him one of the “50 Hottest Bachelors” in the country.

There is an August 5 release date slated for his second album, C’mon! An advance single from the record, “I Still Miss You,” is rising fast on the country charts.