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Country Star Balances Writing, Performing

Of the Oakland Press

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Keith Anderson is learning how to straddle the performing and songwriting divide.

Until 2005, when the Oklahoma-born country artist released his debut album “Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll,” Anderson was best known as a Nashville songwriter whose credits included Garth Brooks, George Jones, Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich’s chart-topping “Lost in This Moment.” But Anderson says playing his own music has always been his first priority.

“I just love performing,” explains Anderson, 39, who was a prospect with baseball’s Kansas City Royals and studied engineering and physical therapy in college before committing himself to music. “There’s something about that hour and a half, two hours on stage every night when you’re just doing what you love, interacting with fans and getting that energy back. There’s nothing like it.

“I still love writing songs and having other people record them. But what I’m doing now is just a dream come true.”

But having his own career means Anderson has to be more deliberate about deciding whether to keep a song for himself or to allow others to record it — although Anderson says he’s learned how to handle that.

“You write so much, and there’s some songs that just strike a chord with you,” says Anderson, who plans to release his second album, “C’mon!,” in the spring of 2008. And there’s some songs that, when you write ’em, you just sing ’em better than others, too.

“There’s a big combination of what determines what you’re gonna record and what you’re gonna pitch to other artists.”

Keith Anderson headlines Friday's (Sept. 28) Rockin’ Country Fest at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit. Local acts the Forbes Brothers, Redhill, the Hummingbirds and Sarah Lenore are also on the bill. The show begins at 11:30 a.m.; Anderson performs at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. Call (313) 962-0101 or visit www.campusmartiuspark.org.

Web Site: www.campusmartiuspark.org

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