Anderson gives memorable performance at festival; Savannah Jack featured performer for tonight's concert
MADISON – Some called it the best concert in the 19-year history of the West Virginia Coal Festival, while others added it was a concert they would never forget. John Anderson gave a legendary performance last night on the main stage during the annual West Virginia Coal Festival in Madison.
“The sound was fantastic,” said state Senator Dr. Ron Stollings (D-Boone). “His performance was fantastic. It was the best I can remember at the Coal Festival.”
Anderson paid tribute to West Virginia’s coal miners starting his show with his hit song “I’m just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday).”
“My mother’s side of the family are all from coal country,” Anderson said in an exclusive interview with the Coal Valley News after the show. “Coal miners, West Virginians and people from this part of the country are some of the best people in the world. I respect them so much. They have always loved and supported me and my music and I love and appreciate them just as much.”
Anderson told the crowd about an incident while in Charleston, W.Va., about eight years ago when he was scheduled to appear at the Sternwheel Regatta, but had a heart attack in a Charleston hotel before the show began.
“I nearly died,” he said. “The doctor that saved my life is here with us tonight…Dr. James Stanton and I want to thank him for being here with us.”
Surgeons implanted a stent in the affected artery and Anderson made a quick and full recovery.
Anderson’s career has lasted more than 30 years. Starting in 1977 with the release of his first single, “I’ve Got a Feelin’ (Somebody’s Been Stealin’).”
Anderson has charted more than 40 singles on the Billboard country music charts, including five Number Ones: “Wild and Blue,” “Swingin’,” “Black Sheep,” “Straight Tequila Night,” and “Money in the Bank,” many of which he performed during last night’s show.
He has also recorded twenty-two studio albums on several labels. “Bigger Hands,” was released on June 2009, on the Country Crossing label.
Anderson also sang a song from his latest gospel album, released in 2011, “Praise for you.”
Anderson was born Dec. 13, 1954, in Orlando, Fla., and raised in Apopka, Fla. As a teen, he played in a rock band, but ultimately pursued country music when he moved to Nashville in 1971 where he played in clubs and also helped build the Grand Ole Opry House.
He signed to Warner Bros. in 1977 and by 1980 he made his mark on the top 10. He turned Billy Joe Shaver's “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)” into a Top 5 hit, and “Wild and Blue” spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1982, soon after “Swingin’” was released, and shot to number 1, becoming one of his signature hits in 1983. The smash single won a CMA award, and Anderson won the CMA Horizon Award. The timeless song was also recorded by Leann Rimes and nominated for a Grammy, once again proving Anderson’s track record for producing great music.
Anderson began working on the album Seminole Wind in the early 90's. From this album he then released the single “Straight Tequila Night,” and it shot to No. 1, setting the stage for five more years of hits, including “When It Comes to You,” “Seminole Wind” and the No. 1 “Money in the Bank.” This record spawned numerous nominations, including: Male Vocalist, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.
The Festival’s musical lineup tonight will feature The Key West Band opening for featured act Savannah Jack.
The Key West Band and Savannah Jack will perform on Friday, June 22, and The Reflections oldies group will be the main attraction Saturday night, June 23.
The Key West Band is endorsed by Jimmy Buffet; Savannah Jack, billed as the next “Alabama,” plays a variety of music, and the Reflections’ claim to fame was their No. 1 hit, “Just Like Romeo and Juliet.”
“Once again, all concerts are free and we anticipate more standing room only crowds, just like past years,” said West Virginia Coal Festival President Joy Underwood.
“This year we will stress the importance of the Coal Miner on the local economy, and keeping our miners safe,” said Larry V. Lodato, secretary and publicist for the Festival. “Coal has a dynamic impact on our local economy, and is also felt throughout the state and nation, from the deep and surface miner to the vendor who delivers a part to the job site to the manufacturer of a piece of equipment. For every coal mining job, there are six coal-related jobs, and we need to need to let the E.P.A. know we support the coal industry 100 per cent. Coal is the backbone of our economy.”