BANGS - A few more people could have found seats in the new Bangs High School auditorium Tuesday night, but not many.
Coffey Anderson, the Bangs High and Howard Payne University graduate who was a finalist on this summer’s NBC Television series “Nashville Star,” had his hometown audience singing and clapping as he performed for 30 minutes before moving to the cafeteria to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
“I don’t have my band,” Anderson said, referring to musicians who are on tour with him and the three other “Nashville Star” finalists. “It’s just me and my guitar.”
And his bright green Bangs Dragons T-shirt.
Even so, Anderson filled the hall with sound, and moved quickly from tune to tune - even taking a couple of requests. The audience was particularly energized when the Los Angeles-based performer who bills himself as “Southern Man,” kicked off the distinctive guitar riff leading into “Sweet Home Alabama.”
“It’s been a blessing to perform on ‘Nashville Star’ and to have people like Vanessa Williams and Miley Cyrus listening to you,” Anderson told the crowd. “I’ve met a lot of great guitar players, like Vince Gill… all these great performers. But to be back here and see you all here to be with me tonight, that means more than anything.”
Before one song, Anderson played a few lines on his guitar to illustrate different musical styles, including bluegrass, urban and Cajun - his father Stan, who still lives in Bangs, is a native of Louisiana. Then he charged into his own rendition, showing how his treatment melds them together.
After closing his performance with “Brown-eyed Girl,” Anderson told the audience, “I love you. Thank you for your support. God bless you.”
Anderson visited his father and friends in Bangs during the week between “Nashville Star” concert tour dates near San Antonio and in Arlington last weekend, and in Fort Worth at Billy Bob’s Texas this Saturday. But he had to leave early to make a solo appearance at a program in support of a church ministry project in Memphis, Tenn., tonight.
The last time Anderson was in Brown County was in September 2007, when he was the headliner for the Brownwood Reunion Celebration’s religious concert on Sunday. He said he hopes to schedule a tour of Texas shows next summer, noting that the number of “Nashville Star” concerts is limited considering that three of the program’s finalists - including winner Melissa Lawson - are Texans.
Anderson spent more than an hour after his show signing autographs, selling CDs and renewing acquaintances with classmates, former teachers, family friends and new fans.
“You’re going to be here a while,” Bangs ISD Superintendent Bill Foster whispered to him as the crowd filled the cafeteria waiting for a few moments of Anderson’s time.
“That’s all right,” Anderson said. “I’m used to it.”