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Anderson East has become a regular at country awards shows and events since he’s been dating Miranda Lambert for the last few years. He was there with her on the front row at the CMA Awards in November, and he co-wrote two tracks on her 2016 album, “The Weight of These Wings.” So, will any of that country influence show up on his new album, “Encore?”

Not so much.

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Anderson’s music is a mix of blues, R&B and gospel with traces of old-school rock ‘n’ roll thrown in. You can hear what we’re talking about in the lead single from “Encore,” a song called “All on My Mind.”

In a new interview with “Billboard,” Anderson makes it clear he’s not looking to make any inroads to the country format.

He says, “I don’t think I am a soul singer and definitely don’t think that I am a country artist by any stretch. I don’t think there is a clear-cut avenue for what I do, and I am OK with that. I am just a lover of music.”

RELATED: Miranda Lambert welcomes Anderson East and fellow songwriters for a special concert

There is, however, a big southern element to Anderson’s music since he hails from north Alabama. He’s also enlisted Chris Stapleton and wife, Morgane, as co-writers on the new song, “King for a Day.” He recently released an out of this world video for the song, too.

As for the title of the new album, Anderson wanted to make sure every song on “Encore” could work as the final song in his live show before saying goodbye to the audience.

He adds, “People are going to love or hate it no matter what you do, so I wanted to do something that I could have fun with.”

If you’ve ever seen Anderson in concert, you know he’s got a killer live show complete with a smoking hot band and horn section backing him up. It’s one area of his life where Anderson has a lot of confidence.

“There is a healthy amount of self-doubt and criticism with most people that make music,” Anderson says. “You find your areas that are your best. Onstage, I am good. But talking to someone in the grocery store? Forget about it.”

Look for Anderson’s new album, “Encore,” to be released on Jan. 12, 2018. The project also features Anderson covering the Willie Nelson song, “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces.”

Anderson’s “Encore World Tour” begins Jan. 11 in New York City with dates announced through May.

Anderson East weighs in on his country music future YouTube/Anderson East
Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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