Things are still crazy in our COVID-19 world.
I had a scheduled dental cleaning last week, received two reminders the week before, drove to the dentist’s office at my appointed time, and was turned away because, “we only see people 70-years old and younger.” Age discrimination? No, just folks following the CDC guidelines.
But, hey, I understand and not everything is bad. There have been some good things and some interesting things going on in and around Whisperville.
First, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has told me that they are moving my Hall of Fame exhibit from November, 2020, forward into November, 2021. And instead of the display being up for ten months as originally planned, it will now be up for fifteen months…from late November 2021 until March, 2023.
In one way I’m sorry the exhibit will be delayed, but I had so much rather it be pushed back than to be rushed and not done well. This will give everyone involved plenty of time to do their homework and make the exhibit something we can all be proud of. The building that houses the Hall and the Museum has been closed since March, and it will take time to get things back up and running again. I hope lots of you will plan to attend my exhibit, and as the details come forth I promise you’ll be the first to know.
Another exciting thing happened in May: An organization called The Book Authority released its list of the “81 Best Country Music Books of All Time,” and my autobiography, “An Unprecedented Life In Country Music” was ranked #5 on the list! According to their website, Book Authority “identifies and rates the best books in the world based on public mentions, recommendations, ratings, and sentiment.” I am extremely honored to know that my book earned the #5 spot on their chart.
What else? Well, the Opry is still only opening for one hour on Saturday nights with no audience, but lots of you are telling me you’re watching and listening. There’s no word on when things might be back to normal, but we’re hoping it’s soon. The same goes for our live concerts, most of which have been postponed or re-scheduled. Meantime, we do have some new music by way of our new CD titled, “The Hits Reimagined.” These are ten of my best-known songs done acoustically with ten instrumental versions as well. Even though you’ve heard me sing most of these songs before, these are new versions that I hope you will like. And the instrumentals are like nothing I’ve ever done before. The record won’t actually be released until July 24th, but we’re offering our fan club members a chance to order in advance.
In fact, if you order during June, the 20-song CD is only $15.00 plus $5.00 shipping. It will be $20.00 after its national release. If your total order is $25 or more, shipping is free. All advance copies will come autographed. You can order through our website at www.billanderson.com under the SHOP icon. Your records should ship between June 22nd and June 29th, and possibly earlier. I hope you will enjoy hearing the new vocal arrangements and singing along with the instrumentals.
On another subject, does anyone out there happen to have a copy of the sheet music to Jan Howard’s legendary song, “My Son?” If you do, would you please let me know as her son, Corky, wants to use the cover of that sheet music as part of a special marker being created for Jan’s final resting place at Spring Hill Cemetery here in Nashville. Reach out to me as soon as you can at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know most of you are like me in that you’re missing time spent with your friends and your family during this pandemic. I have been able to enjoy a couple of out of doors, socially-distanced meals with both my daughters recently, and saw my son at his daughter’s drive-by birthday party. I can’t wait until this is all over, though, so I can communicate with everyone from closer than six-feet away. I’m sure you feel the same.
Stay well, stay safe, and I’ll plan to see you back here next month. Meantime, to quote an old song, “Put more water in the soup….there’s better times a’ coming.”
1) My question to you is how big of a part does gospel music play in your shows? Meaning do you include gospel music in each concert you do?
It’s been so long since we’ve done a live concert that I almost don’t remember. But, seriously, yes, I always try to include a gospel song. I don’t do a gospel segment as such, but I include “Mama Sang A Song,” in virtually all my shows and close most of my shows with “I Saw The Light.” If I have requests for other gospel songs, and if time allows, I’m more than happy to sing them as well.
2) I watched the Ray Price tribute you did, and I notice you wear your watch on your right wrist. Are you left-handed? You play the guitar right-handed. Just curious.
Yes, I am totally left-handed…and right-brained! The only thing I do right-handed is play the guitar. I only do that because when I was teaching myself to play, I couldn’t find any chord books for left-handers. My first inclination was to play it left-handed, but I knew I’d have to turn it around if I were ever going to learn. And so I did.
3) In your career you have primarily focused on singing and songwriting. But have you ever had an occasion where you had and accepted an offer to do something professionally that you never in your wildest dreams ever expected to do? And, if so, how did it turn out? And did you continue doing it?
Oh, yes. I never imagined myself as a contestant on and/or a host of a television game show…and in my very wildest dreams I never imagined I would appear on a TV soap opera. Those opportunities both came my way back in the late 70s and early 80s, though, and I took advantage of them, primarily because I knew I would regret it someday if I didn’t. How did they turn out? Well, let’s just say I haven’t been asked back to any of the soaps, but I continue to get game show hosting opportunities. In fact, if the pandemic calms down a bit, I plan to host a new game show pilot in July. Will it continue beyond there? Stay tuned.
4) And a few questions that require only short answers: Will you make a movie about your life? Do you have any CDs of you and Jan Howard singing together? What is your favorite restaurant in the Nashville area – one the tourists don’t know about? And when our country opens back up, what is the first thing you are going to do?
No, I won’t make a movie about my life. Somebody else might, but I won’t. Unfortunately, none of my and Jan’s albums were ever released on CD. If I tell you my favorite restaurant that the tourists don’t know about, then they’ll know about it. But ok…it’s a place called The Yellow Porch. And the first thing I’m going to do as soon as I can is go hug all the people I’ve missed hugging while we’ve been socially distancing. And the second thing I’m going to do is go hug them all again!!
Thanks for your questions. You can always send them to me at email@example.com
or to P. O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076, and I’ll answer as best as I can. Send me yours, and I’ll see you back here in July.
My granddaughter, Hallie, turned 12-years old on May 9th, and I was able to go to her house and wish her a socially distanced Happy Birthday. Several of her friends gave her a drive-by birthday parade and she was all smiles. Not a normal birthday by any means, but one she definitely won’t forget! I was saddened by the death of rock ‘n roll legend, Little Richard, last month, and remembered back to the night in 1984 when I MC’d his induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. I can’t begin to tell you how many of his records I played on the radio back in my rock ‘n roll disc jockey days. He was a true original. The bottom picture was taken onstage at the Opry House the last time I performed there. It was March 14th, and was the first Opry show performed without an audience. I sure hope we’ll all be able to gather there again soon. I really miss it.