Coffey Anderson was 19 when he picked up a guitar for the first time. Within three months he had a gig.
Now 28, Anderson travels the country playing music for packed houses nearly 200 nights a year at a mix of venues.
“Last year, I opened up for Boys II Men,” Anderson said. “And then, I had a chance to play a Baptist Church, and then I played a Catholic mass.
“That was all in four days.”
Anderson will bring his guitar to Craig this week for a 6 p.m. performance Saturday at The Journey at First Baptist Church, 1150 W. Ninth St.
The event is a fundraiser for Celebrate Recovery — a Christian-based, 12-step drug and alcohol cessation program.
Although Anderson has played gigs coast to coast in support of his four albums, this will be his first stop in Craig.
“I heard you’ve got good deer and elk, so I wanted to see what you’ve got going on up there,” he said.
Anderson was raised in Bangs, Texas, and lives in Los Angeles. He said his music varies as widely as the places he’s lived and the venues he plays. His repertoire includes covers and originals, and genres from pop, country, folk and Christian.
“I play every type of music,” he said. “Everything is family-friendly, whether it’s in a church or not.”
In the early days of his career, however, Anderson sometimes stretched his beliefs to pay the bills.
“I’ve been offered big deals to do risqué stuff. When I first started out, I would ghostwrite for rappers,” Anderson said.
But, he began questioning that path.
“I was like, ‘You know what? This just isn’t me,’” he said.
Anderson said he decided to do what felt right, even if it didn’t pay.
The gamble paid off.
Anderson began playing his own music as a street performer, and soon raised enough money to self-publish an album and buy a laptop.
With the computer, Anderson began posting his songs to Internet sites YouTube and GodTube.
The songs gained a following.
That following included a church in Craig, said Len Browning, lead pastor of The Journey.
“For over five years we’ve played his music and videos at Celebrate Recovery, and he’s been an influence there,” Browning said.
Celebrate Recovery is in its sixth year. Browning estimates the program has helped more than 100 area residents fight addiction.
“It’s a safe place to heal from hurts, habits and hang-ups,” Browning said of Celebrate Recovery.
Browning said it’s fitting to have Anderson play a fundraiser for Celebrate Recovery, but stressed the concert is open to the public.
“It’s a worship concert with a Southern down-home twist,” Browning said.
Although Browning hasn’t met Anderson in person yet, the pastor said he feels like he already knows the musician.
“He really makes a connection with his audience,” Browning said. “He makes a personal connection even with people who’ve only listened to his stuff on YouTube or GodTube.”
Anderson said he’s planning a one-hour show with music and storytelling.
“There’s going to be a lot of jokes,” he said. “It’s going to be a good time.”
Tickets are available at The Journey, Cramer Flooring, Identity Graphics, New Creation Church and Craig Christian Church.
To learn more about Coffey Anderson and to hear his music, visit www.icoffey.com.
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