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Heartland - I Loved Her First
Album Review By: Penny Rondinella, CSO Staff Journalist

These Huntsville Alabama natives make up a wonderful mix of six band members that have been playing their music in country bars for 12 years or more. The band members consist of:

Jason Albert (lead vocalist) 
Craig Anderson (rhythm guitar)
Keith West (bass guitar/background vocals) 
Chuck Crawford (fiddle/background vocals)
Mike Myerson (lead guitar)
Todd Anderson (drummer) 

All it takes sometimes is a special hit that everyone takes to right off the bat and Heartland has done just that with their current hit, released on the independent label Lofton Creek Records "I Loved Her First." They heard the song at a song writers showcase that they were at with song writer/producer Walt Aldridge. Craig Anderson says: “We heard him play it and it was a no-brainer that somebody needed to do that song.” It's made No. 3 on Billboard charts, No. 2 on Radio & Records so far and still climbing. With musical Influences like: Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams Jr., Alabama, Van Halen, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, AC/DC, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, they just couldn't go wrong. They've already done the gig of all country gigs. The WSM Grand Ole Opry. They can't even begin to tell how excited they were. A life long dream come true. Heartland performed two shows at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday, July 29th. 

"I Loved Her First" starts off leading you to think that the song is about a guy watching his girlfriend dancing with another man, but then as you listen, it’s actually a man seeing his daughter grow up and another guy coming and taking her hand in marriage. It's a great song and I know for me, it really pulls at my heart strings. I have two little girls and a song like that becomes very special for a Daddy and her little girls. I know it has to be hard for when that special day comes for him to 
release her hand to another man. I just wish it was around for when my Daddy and I had that special dance, I think of him today when I hear this song, it makes me cry every time. When lead singer Jason Albert heard the song on the radio for the very first time he was at home and said he "cranked it up and jumped around like a girl," he was so excited. 

They actually received their first taste of having their dream become a reality when they performed at the final June Jam in 1997, an annual concert held in Ft. Payne each year by country music legends Alabama. When they took the stage in front of more than 20,000 screaming fans, they were surprised and elated to see people holding up Heartland signs and shouting out their name. They've even now been recognized in L.A., people waving at them from across the street, taking pictures and yelling their name. They are reaching their dreams with friends they have had now over for 20 years. What a true blessing that is, to be able to reach that goal with such friends. 

Among the 11 tracks on the album there are a number of great songs like "Built To Last", a song about going to your grandparents 50th anniversary and seeing the twinkle still in their eyes, having a marriage that is built to last, "Staying on the 50 year plan", and toasting to the makers of things made to last. They do a nice rendition of Ronnie Milsap's "(There's) No Getting Over Me," Ronnie would be, (if he isn't already) proud of them doing this one. Keith West says: “I heard somebody say ‘If you take some Beach Boys and a little bit Alabama and put them in a cup and shake them up, you get the Heartland sound.’” They say they like putting on a very lively show that may make you think back to the 80’s rock days--not as crazy, but they say they do like to move around and entertain the people. That's what live shows are really about entertaining. I think they know what they are doing and they seem to be doing it right. Jason says “There’s six guys in the band and we like to give every body six different things to look at." They’ve opened for artists Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Neal McCoy, Diamond Rio and many others along with headlining their own shows.

Todd Anderson says: “If the good Lord blesses us enough to allow us to make a living out of it, that’s wonderful. If we start playing arenas with 20,000 people each night, that’s great, but no matter where we are or what we’re doing this is a true 
brotherhood.” Amen to that. Keep living the dream.

Click on the CD cover to order yours!
1. Boys Like Us 
2. Play Hurt 
3. You 
4. Built to Last 
5. No Getting Over Me 
6. Let's Get Dirty 
7. Too Country 
8. Freebird in a Firebird 
9. I Loved Her First 
10. Mississippi Mud 
11. Judge a Man by the Woman 

Related Links:
Official Website 

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