REVIEW: Doug Anderson – The Only One
Producer: Wayne Haun
Record Label: StowTown Records
Doug Anderson is a household name in Southern Gospel circles at this point. During his tenure with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Anderson garnered many award nominations and wins, including Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2012 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards for his debut solo project – Dreamin’ Wide Awake.
In April of last year, Anderson announced his departure from Signature Sound in order to pursue a solo career. This doesn’t appear to be a bad move as Anderson has remained in the public eye due to his strong marketing presence and the formation of new super group Cana’s Voice (with TaRanda Greene and Avalon alum Jody McBrayer). Right before the release of that group’s debut, Anderson is released his third solo recording for StowTown Records – The Only One.
The Only One picks up where his last two releases (2011’s Dreamin’ Wide Awake and 2014’s Drive) left off – giving the listener some of the freshest pop/country sounds to enter the genre in years. There’s a lot to love on this recording, particularly the strong writing from some of the industry’s biggest writers.
The album kicks off with the title track and first single, “The Only One.” It’s an infectious pop/country tune, though it may have been a bit too edgy for radio programmers at Southern Gospel radio. Perhaps a better choice would have been the straight-ahead country and Gospel-filled lyrics of “Little White Church House” (written by Rachel McCutcheon, Marcia Henry, and Denny Livingston). It’s got just the kind of charm and enthusiasm behind it that would have listeners of the Crabb Family or Karen Peck & New River smiling throughout.
“Jesus Saved Me (When I Could Not Save Myself)” is a fantastic anthem written by Reba Rambo-McGuire, Dony McGuire and Chip Davis complete with a Gospel choir and soaring chorus. Another album highlight comes in the form of “Enough Love to Go Around” (also backed by the Gospel Choir). Doug’s voice is in top form here with lyrics (written by Jeff Bumbgardner, Darryl Johnson, and Donna Jaree Brooks) interpreted masterfully. “I Don’t Know How He Did It” harkens back to the old Andrae’ Crouch tunes of the 70s. Wayne Haun, Brent Ellison, and Darryl Johnson did a fantastic job crafting this throw-back tune.
Penned by Tony Wood, Lee Black and Kenna West, “Thorns” is another highlight with some of the strongest lyrics on the recording. This ballad isn’t too country that it couldn’t find its place on Inspirational radio at the moment. Perhaps the finest track on the recording comes in the form of “Thirsty World.” Lyrically, this isn’t the kind of song that those looking for a straight ahead Gospel song will love, but fans of the God & country theme of mainstream Country will absolutely drink this one up (yes, pun intended). Doug’s vocals are spot-on here, and he delivers one of the finest performances of his career. (Thanks to Jason Blaine and Steve Bogard for penning such a phenomenal tune).
Overall, The Only One proves that Anderson shouldn’t be called just a group singer. Between this release and his duties with Cana’s Voice, Doug Anderson has a very healthy career ahead of him.
The Only One
Little White Church House
Jesus Saved Me (When I Could Not Save Myself)
Tell Me That’s Not God
God Speed the Day
Only Room for Love
Enough Love to Go Around
I Don’t Know How He Did It
Remember That He Loves You
Don’t Miss the Sunset