Lynn Anderson “Bridges” Album Review

Lynn Anderson

Prime Cuts: Heaven Has a Human Touch, Meanwhile Back at the Cross, Fishin'

Only God knows that when this album was released in June this year, Lynn Anderson would die more than a month later.  "Bridges" is the "Rose Garden" singer's final album, but it's also (sadly) her first Gospel album.  However, Anderson never expected this to be her last; in fact, around the release of this album, she was eagerly tooting the horns of this release with interviews and even social media tweets.  Truth be told, this is Anderson's best album to date.  Part of the success comes from Anderson's deft ear for a good song.  Seasonal country music scribes such as Mike Reid, Paul Overstreet, Buffy Lawson, Kim Williams, Don Schlitz, and Allen Shamblin were invited to offer their latest and finest compositions. 

Anderson (September 26, 1947 - July 30, 2015) was a multi-award-winning country music singer known for a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, most notably her 1970 country-pop, worldwide megahit "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden".  Anderson's crossover appeal and regular exposure on national television helped her to become one of the most popular and successful country singers of the 1970s. Anderson charted 12 No. 1, 18 Top 10, and more than 50 Top 40 hits. Other than a bluegrass album, her last album of entirely newly recorded material was 1992 "Cowboy's Sweetheart," which even features a duet with Emmylou Harris.

"Bridges" finds Anderson abandoning her popish appeal in favour of a more sympathetically country backing which brings out a warmer (and more plaintive) feel of the songs.  Most familiar among the dozen of newly recorded song here is Anderson's take of Dobie Gray's hit "Drift Away."  Rather than just reproducing a Xerox copy of this 1973 #1 hit, Anderson has tweaked the words so that God becomes the object of the song.  Also, quite stellar is Anderson's take of the Gospel favorite (recently brought to the fore again by Gordon Mote) "Meanwhile Back at the Cross."  Listening to how Anderson uses her vocal intonations to build up the drama of how Jesus through His Cross completely dismantle Satan's entrapments is a treat. 

One of country music's assets is the use of story songs:  here Anderson certainly knows how to capitalize on them with "Fishin'," and the title cut "Bridges."  The former "Fishin'" is a must-hear: a tear-jerker of a song, "Fishin'" speaks of a relentless love between an ailing father and his son with overtones of the love our heavenly Father has for us.  Mike Reid, who has written #1 hits for Ronnie Milsap, Lorrie Morgan & Wynonna Judd, returns with "Heaven Has a Human Touch."  A mediative piece with slight jazzy touch, "Heaven" is an enjoyable piece that dresses the incarnation of Jesus in contemporary garb.  Two top noched writers Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz offer "Rise Up," which is propulsive romper without being much a jaw opener. 

Over the years, Lynn Anderson has had her share of songs that still continue to inspire.  Other than "Rose Garden," ardent fans of hers will remember many of her hits such as "Fool Me," "Top of the World," "What a Man My Man is," and many others.  The songs on "Bridges" will definitely add to this storied repertoire as Anderson sings not just of human love but of a love that transcends time and human existence.  



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