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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Rodeo entertainer Anderson wants crowd to join the party

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Toni Tilley and Jamie Williams screw down carpet runners onto the SIkeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo stage.
SIKESTON -- Rodeo fans planning to attend Saturday night's finale and the performance with Keith Anderson had best come ready to sing and dance.

"It's all about trying to get everybody included and involved," Anderson said in a phone interview. "We try to bring the party up on the stage. For us, it's just getting out and meeting these great country music friends and fans of ours."

Although he isn't familiar with the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, Anderson has played at several rodeos this year and has childhood memories of attending a county rodeo in his hometown in Oklahoma every year. "I loved it," he said.

Performing at a rodeo is different -- and more intense -- than at regular concerts. "They get rowdy," Anderson said of the fans. "And we love it."

The Sikeston Jaycees are preparing for Anderson and other performers at the 54th Annual Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, scheduled for next week. "We're recarpeting the stage and installing new hydraulic lines," said Tim Jaynes, entertainment committee chairman.

Following in the likes of other rodeo entertainers, like George Strait and Garth Brooks, who have gone on to become huge hits is a dream of Anderson's. "To be in the position to follow in their footsteps and take the same path they did -- it's a great honor," he said.

Anderson's debut album "Three Chord Country and American Rock and Roll" was released in 2005. His current hit single, "Every Time I Hear Your Name," ranks at No. 6 on the charts, and the video has been a No. 1 hit on Great American Country. "Pickin' Wildflowers" was also a Top 10 hit, which came in at No. 8.

The tracks are a hit among cowboys, too. "Bull riders and bronc riders are cranking up "Pickin' Wildflowers,"" Anderson said. "That's the song they play to get riled up."

He's not sure which single will be released next, but Anderson said it will either be a remix of his title track, "Three Chord Country and American Rock and Roll" featuring Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, or "Podunk."

Keeping in shape is key to Anderson, who tries to work out every day, even while on tour. "First thing when we get up, we look for a gym," he said. "Sometimes we just can't get a gym, then we throw on the tennis shoes and run -- it's just way too important."

Anderson has become a certified personal trainer at the famed Cooper Institute in Dallas. Additionally, he has an engineering degree from Oklahoma State, which he pursued while "tinkering" with music, as he had in high school. For a year and a half, he worked for a construction-engineering firm in Dallas, before deciding to focus his full attention to music.

"It was a hobby, but at that point it came to me that that's what I wanted to do," he said.

Anderson is also an accomplished songwriter. His Grammy-nominated "Beer Run" was a duet recorded by Garth Brooks and George Jones, and "The Bed" was recorded by Gretchen Wilson as a vocal event with Big & Rich.

"I just like it all," he said. "As a songwriter, you pull your emotions and true life experiences into your song."

Most of Anderson's songs are upbeat, and all reflect a personal experience.

Some, like "Every Time I Hear Your Name," are a bit more serious. "It's a true story about a broken heart," Anderson said. "Life's not always going to be up tempo."

In-depth, introspective songs are Anderson's favorite to write. But no matter what, writing is always a "cerebral" process for him.

"It's like taking three ACT tests when you've finished a song, you've accomplished something so big," he said. "A lot of times it's therapy just to get your thoughts down."

And once on stage, Anderson said it is like "an athletic adrenaline rush. We're excited to come in and ready to come out and party."

Tickets are still available for Anderson's performance, plus for the performances by the other three musicians: Trace Adkins, Terri Clark and Craig Morgan. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Jaycee Rodeo Ticket Office at (573) 471-7196 or visit the Web site at www.sikestonrodeo.com.