It’s rare to accidentally discover a new artist and find yourself immediately captivated, wishing there was more than just three songs available on Spotify. However, this was this case when I stumbled upon Arista Nashville artist Carlton Anderson’s debut EP, released January 11. Featuring three songs, the collection is the perfect introduction for Anderson, displaying both a sizable voice, a recognizable style, and a bit of variety.
The Cypress, Texas native released his debut single, “Drop Everything,” in May 2018, and that track is the third in this collection. It’s a fun up-tempo inviting a woman to drop everything, including both her plans and her man to be with him. “I don’t see a ring on your pretty little hand,” Anderson croons confidently, and you have to wonder how many times this line has worked for him. The song, co-written by Rhett Akins, Matthew Dragstem and Ashley Gorley, should certainly make its way to country radio in the near future.
The first track on the EP is “Country Music Made Me Do It,” co-written by Jessi Alexander, and John and T.J. Osborne of Brothers Osborne. The influence of Brothers Osborne is incredibly apparent here stylistically and that’s not a bad thing. Anderson blames country music on why he didn’t make it home to the woman in his life and this tongue-in-cheek explanation is sure to have you singing along. Lyrically and stylistically, this song seems the most familiar, probably due to the fact that it could have easily been on Brothers Osborne’s record. However, Anderson offers his own spin, and the results are fantastic.
Rounding out the EP is “Keep Abilene Beautiful,” a ballad that shows another side of Anderson. The track tells of getting back to where you came from, and it was co-written by Anderson, Tony Lane, and Tom Douglas. On the ballad, his voice is strong and emotive as he pleas, “Keep Abilene beautiful, baby.” Anderson took to his Facebook page to share a bit about the writing process. “I had some memories of some time I spent out in Los Angeles, a place I knew I had no business being, and with a little from each of our stories, the song came together. I threw out a verse that neither one of them hated and just tried not to say anything stupid the rest of the write. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t from Abilene, or if you couldn’t even point it out on a map of Texas. This song is about getting back to where you belong, with the ones you love.”
With a unique mix of contemporary and classic, Carlton Anderson’s debut collection of songs is a must-listen. We expect big things from him, and he’s already well on his way. Anderson made his Grand Ole Opry Debut on the same day he released his EP, January 11. Additionally, he’s currently opening select dates for Aaron Watson and will appear at Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California on Friday, April 20.
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