Contrary to what the “anything but country” crowd would have you believe, there is a wide variety of artists that fall under the umbrella. Sure, there are the stadium country artists like Eric Church or Luke Combs, but there are the genre-blenders like Nathaniel Rateliff who mesh together neo-soul with American roots music. There are also the country revivalists like Tyler Childers who are working track-by-track to restore the genre to its former glory.
There are folks like Sturgill Simpson who approach each project with a completely different vision of how to bring the singer-songwriter style to a new demographic. Then there is the rising class of female musicians like Sierra Hull and Sierra Ferrell who are giving a much-needed voice to underrepresented artists. Whatever you’re looking for in country music, there’s someone out there doing it, and they all came together to pay tribute to John Anderson on Something Borrowed, Something New.
While all of the above-mentioned artists have taken different paths artistically, they all started with a playbook that included Anderson’s songs. Anderson—who is still alive and well and recording at age 65—has charted over 40 songs on the Billboard Country Music Charts throughout his career beginning in 1977 all the way to his latest release, 2020’s Years.
It was during the recording of Years that the idea for Something Borrowed, Something New came to the producer of both projects, Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys).
“We weren’t trying to piddle around and make the normal tribute record. It had to be the best singers with the best songs and the best arrangements, and they all had to come into the studio,” Auerbach, who produced the album at his Easy Eye Sound Nashville outpost, said of the process. “This wasn’t like, ‘Mail me the song, and we’ll put it together.’ Everybody had to come here and do their thing. I think it makes this record unique. I don’t think most tribute records are done like this. I think that’s why it sounds like a cohesive album. It feels like an amazing mix tape.”
The great musical melting pot that is Something Borrowed, Something New also features contributions from Ashley McBryde, Brothers Osborne, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Brent Cobb, Jamey Johnson, Del McCoury with Sierra Hull, and the late John Prine who kicks off the album with “1959”.
“Listening to everybody do their own takes on the songs shows how the songs really come through,” Anderson said of the album. “And I thought to myself, ‘You might have been young and foolish back then, but you sure did pick some good songs.’ It’s very gratifying to know that some things really do not change, and a great country song remains a great country song. Any one person on the record would be a real tribute, but all of them together? It’s a pretty big deal for me personally.”
Stream Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute To John Anderson via the player below or on your preferred platform, and check out Easy Eye Sound’s side-by-side playlist which includes the covers alongside the originals.
Various Artists – Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute To John Anderson
Some of the artists from the album including Tyler Childers, Dan Auerbach, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Sierra Hull, Elizabeth Cook, and more will honor Anderson at a special Grand Ole Opry tribute show tomorrow, August 6th. Fans can tune in to the show Opry Live on Circle Television or purchase tickets here.