Lynn Anderson Talks 'Bridges' Album: 'You Never Know Where Your Next Deal Might Come From'

Anne Goetze
Lynne Anderson photographed in 2015.

Growing up the daughter of successful songwriters Liz and Casey Anderson, Lynn Anderson says you never could tell who might be at her house growing up -- even at 2 in the morning.

"They would go to a concert, and Mother would invite them to come home and have bacon and eggs at 2 a.m. She’d cook, and Daddy would play them Mom’s songs in the living room. It was nothing to wake up in the middle of the night and hear Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Freddie Hart or Wynn Stewart. It was pretty unforgettable,” she says.

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That unique place in country music history also extends to the Academy of Country Music, of which Anderson is a flagship member. “I’m member number eleven,” she stated proudly to Billboard. “They had a meeting at Gene Autry’s Continental Hyatt House. There were about 30 people there, and we all signed on the dotted line.” She said that attending the 50th annual ACM Awards in Arlington, Texas, this past April was definitely something she’ll remember the rest of her life. “It was crazy to see,” she said. “It was such a big place, and the show was very entertaining. I think the Academy did an outstanding job with it.”

Anderson has just released the latest project in her almost five-decade recording career, Bridges, her first release on Center Sound Records, a label she really enjoys working with. “It’s really worked out great. I did a couple of tracks for a project for this independent label, and the day I was in there, my record producer that was working on the album project got fired. I turned to the guy who was producing these two tracks, and said, ‘You want to buy a record?’ He said ‘Well…Maybe.’ As it turned out, he loved the record that we were working on, and made a deal. You never know where your next deal might come from,” she says with a laugh.

Lynn Anderson on the CMA Awards Red Carpet 2013

And, keeping with her tradition in the business, several family members helped out. “My daughter did all the artwork, and she was able to put together a red vinyl 45 on the single, so we could have it for the CMA Music Festival week,” she said.

The single is a rewritten take on the classic “Drift Away,” which was written by longtime boyfriend Mentor Williams. “He rewrote it for our little church in Taos, New Mexico. We’d been singing it in church for a couple of years. The congregation loves it, and I hope our audience loves it.”

Bridges marks Anderson’s very first Gospel project, something her fans have been asking about for a while. “I’ve been asked before when I was going to do one, and it just never happened. I got baptized at church -- dunked in the Rio Grande River -- so this just came about naturally.”

One of the highlights of the album is the pop-flavored “Heaven Has a Human Touch,” of which she said: “Bruce Dees was one of the two producers on it, and he brought a smooth pop-flavored approach to it. It’s a great song that was written by Mike Reid, who is one of my favorite songwriters in Nashville. He’s written so many big hits.”

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Another one the singer is excited for her fans to hear is the riveting story song “He Saw It All,” which was written by bluegrass tunesmith Daryl Mosley. “You can’t help but like the lyrics on that song -- one of my favorite lines is ‘Ask the blind man, because he saw it all.’ It talks about the miracles that Jesus bestowed on this group of people. It’s really an uplifting song.”

One particular lyric the veteran performer said she identified with was “Wanderer’s Prayer,” of which the lyrics really seemed to hit home. “I’ve been so blessed in my life that things have kind of seemed to fall in place for me. I just have to keep on the right path, and not jaunt off to the left or the right. I love how the lyrics speak of asking the Lord to keep me in the right direction. That’s where the song hits me.”

After a half-century in the business -- and 47 top 40 country hits -- Anderson is still on the road today. “I’ve got guys in my band that have been there for about 35 years. They’re great players, and we still enjoy doing the music. I don’t play music very well, so I’ve always surrounded myself with people who played a lot better than I did. I’m a loyal person, and I just tend to leave it to the experts.”