Jim Anderson helps artists live their dreams
WRITTEN BY BOB LABBE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSHUA BERRY
Music and its promotion are Jim Anderson’s first loves.
The Madison County native came down with the promoting fever while he was head football coach at a Christian academy located in Nashville – where many of the parents and grandparents of the students were tied to the Grand Ole Opry.
“Being around those people gave me the bug of the music business, and I soon fell in love with it,” said Anderson. “Those famous people I came to know were just salt-of-the-earth type people who just happened to sing.”
Today, at age 70, Anderson is busy trying to help those in the immediate Madison area live their dreams of making music for all to hear. He is co-owner of Briarfork Records, named after the area where he grew up in Madison County near Hazel Green. With just one artist, the group Madison Station, currently on his list of potential music stars, Anderson aims to take an artist, record their music and promote the artist and music to ensure the best chance for success.
Prosperity in the music business can be as tough as any business – and Anderson should know.
His two sons, Craig, 43, and Todd, 41, were the central points of the successful band Heartland, which managed, under the guidance of Anderson, to secure a recording contract and record at the famous Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals. Heartland had a subsequent No. 1 platinum selling single, “I Loved Her First,” and gold album in 2006 – but the music business is not all glitz and glamour, as they soon found out. The band was dropped by the record label and quickly became known as a one-hit wonder.
“The band Heartland began in my garage of my home off Mt. Zion Road, and soon they got bigger and better, and I retired from teaching and coaching in 1998 to promote the band,” said Anderson.
“I once promoted The Platters to play at the Grand Ole Opry, and that wet my appetite to keep trying at being a promoter.”
As co-owner of Briarfork Records with his good friend Charles Tuck, Anderson works to get tracks playing on the radio and pushes sales. As a promoter, his main objectives are ticket sales for events and keeping artists happy.
Two years ago, his sons wanted another shot at the music scene. Through Anderson’s efforts, the new group, Madison Station, made a dent on the national charts at No. 61. Anderson continues to help Madison Station soar to success, but he said the music business has changed through the years, and it takes a lot of money and a lot of luck to excel in the struggle for notoriety.
Anderson secured a law degree in 1985, and he’s also a Vietnam veteran and a twice-wounded Purple Heart recipient. His coaching stops included a stay at Sparkman High, where he attended high school. Anderson and his wife, Diana, have been married 48 years.
Anderson said his fondness for sports and music has always guided him. That’s why he feels more than ever he wants to succeed in his current endeavors.
“I’m determined to have a record company in our area for any worthy talent looking for a break,” said Anderson. “I want to see a marriage of music and talent in Madison County. I know the results of what happened to those I’ve seen get ripped off, and I want to change that and do something I’ve always wanted to do. I still enjoy the business. I love my life.”