Years

John Anderson

Years

It’s a poignant thing to hear the sage return of a voice that was nearly silenced. John Anderson, whose country hits stretched from the late 1970s into the mid-’90s, released just one album during the 2010s before suffering a serious health setback. The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and Nashville studio lifer David “Fergie” Ferguson, who’ve lately made it their mission to showcase undiscovered and underappreciated talents, persuaded Anderson to give writing and recording another try, and Years is the revelatory result. Anderson’s instantly recognizable voice sounds slightly more deliberate but wholly undiminished, arriving in mellowed, bluesy ripples from the back of his throat. Early in the album, he marvels at his own durability in songs like the sumptuously orchestrated “Celebrate” and “I’m Still Hangin’ On.” “There were people placing bets that I’d be dead and gone, but I’m still hangin’ on,” he exults. Later come songs like “Wild and Free” and the countrified R&B number “Chasing Down a Dream,” which land like testaments to Anderson’s restless, undampened spirit.

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