It’s hard to believe it’s already time for our August newsletter. Seems like I just finished writing my July letter yesterday!
A lot of exciting things are on the horizon for this month, most of them centering around the release of my new album. The first single from my “Anderson” package will be “Everybody Wants To Be 21,” a song I wrote and recorded with Jamey Johnson. It will be available August 10th, then on August 17th you can pre-order the entire album from iTunes or here on our website. The album release date is September 14th. A complete list of the song titles follows.
(Available for pre-order August 17th. Release date September 14th)
- Old Things New
- Everybody Wants To Be 21 w/Jamey Johnson
- Dixie Everywhere I Go
- Dead To You
- Something To Believe In
- Watchin’ It Rain
- That’s What Made Me Love You
- Practice Leaving Town
- The Only Bible
- Waffle House Christmas
With all the social media sites these days and the totally new world of music promotion and merchandising, I feel like an old dog trying to learn new tricks. I’ve decided to simply surround myself with young people who understand this new digital universe, though, and let them do their thing. They’ve had me jumping through all kinds of hoops I’ve never tried before, but I guess if it results in more records being sold then it’s all been worth it.
In other news, thanks for your great support of our “Too Country! – What’s That?” merchandise offer during July. Our sales exceeded all our expectations, and because of your response we’ll be back with other offers shortly. Stay tuned.
We’ll be going back in the TV studio the 28th and 29th of this month to tape a new series of Country’s Family Reunion shows, these being titled “Country’s Unbroken Circle.” Those of us who have been regulars on the show for the past twenty-plus years will again be bringing some of the exciting young, new talent to the show in an effort to continue reaching out to the next generation of country fans. I’m told these new shows will air on RFD-TV in the fall and be available for purchase in plenty of time for Christmas.
In my “spare time” I’ll be trying to write some new songs this month with some of my favorite co-writers, including Jon Randall, Bobby Tomberlin, and Lance Miller. The band and I will also be traveling up to Minnesota and back to Pennsylvania for a series of concerts in Sandstone, Albert Lea, and Lancaster. I hope to see many of your smiling faces when we come calling. Our Opry dates will be August 3rd, 4th, 7th, 10th, and 31st.
On the personal front, I continue to appreciate your thoughts and prayers for my daughter, Terri, my grandson, Gabe, and my best friend, Vickie, as they each struggle with their various health issues. Larry Black can use our prayers right now, too, and I hope you’ll remember him.
Enjoy the remainder of your summer and be listening for the new musical whispers coming your way. I sure hope we’ve done some things that you’ll like. Thanks for continuing to be so good to me, and we’ll see you back here again in September. My best to you all.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
When I asked Willie Nelson if he’d sing with me on “The Lord Knows I’m Drinking” years ago he said,
1) How are the guests picked to perform on the Grand Ole Opry?
That’s a great question, and I reached out to our talent coordinator, Gina Keltner, for the answer: “Thie Grand Ole Opry is a one-of-a-kind production where all genres of country music are represented. An ideal show will include a mix of the most revered country legends, biggest contemporary chart toppers, and rising stars as well as other genres such as bluegrass and comedy. The Opry administrative office tracks and juggles artists’ availability to put together what are hopefully the most well-balanced and entertaining shows.” And now you know.
2) On an old Opry segment I heard recently you introduced a group called “The Four Guys.” Are they still around?
No, unfortunately the group disbanded back around 2000. They became Opry members in 1967, and performed countless times on our shows. At various times the group consisted of Richard Garrett, Sam Wellington, Brent Burkett, Gary Buck, Laddie Cain, John Frost, and possibly others. I used to marvel at the way they would perform an early Opry spot, sneak out and do a complete show at their popular nightclub, The Harmony House, then return to the Opry for the late show. No matter who was in the group they were always the consummate professionals. I miss them.
3) My question is about songwriting today. I have had some songs published, but I stopped because no one wants songs that are country. It’s all about trucks, beer, and dirt roads. Ugh! Have you felt that impact and has it made you want to stop writing for the fluff music industry?
I understand your frustration, and, believe me, you are not the only person who has expressed these thoughts to me. In the midst of it all, I have tried to just stay true to myself and write songs the way I have always written them. I’m not trying to write for today’s popularity charts so much as to write things I can be proud to put my name on. If something I create manages to sneak onto the charts then that’s a bonus. But no trends or fads, no matter how far fetched they might be, will ever take away my desire to create. First thing I plan to do at the Golden Gate is ask St. Peter for a pencil so I can jot down my latest idea for a song.
Who is going on 2019 Family Reunion Cruise and on what cruise line?
It will be on Royal Caribbean cruise lines, but I don’t have the complete list of artists in front of me. You can get that information by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling 615-673-2846.
Did you write the song “Farther Along?” I love it.
I recorded it, but, no, I didn’t write it. It was written way back before my time.
The number of questions we received slacked off a bit this month, so if you’ve got something you’re wanting to know, jot it down and send it to me. I’ll answer as many of your inquiries as I can. Send them to me at email@example.com or to my snail mail address at P. O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. See you back here next time.
My ten-year old granddaughter, Hallie, pleaded with me to take her to the Country Music Hall of Fame to see the Loretta Lynn exhibit before it closes later this month. While we were there, we just “happened” to pass by my plaque in the Hall of Fame Rotunda. It was my month for youngsters as I welcomed 11-year old WalMart yodeling sensation, Mason Ramsey, to the Opry stage. And I thought I’d share this last picture just to prove that John Anderson is not the only Anderson who goes “Swingin’!”
I’ve been all over the world singing about having a “Wild Weekend” for years, but in real life, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a weekend quite like the one I just had.
Actually, it was more like a “wild week” because it started last Tuesday afternoon when my publicist, Scott Adkins, and I flew to New York in advance of my Songwriters Hall of Fame induction set for Thursday. We landed around five o’clock and spent over 90-minutes trying to get into Manhattan at the heart of rush hour. I told Scott, “New York traffic is getting as bad as Nashville!”
We hit the ground running on Wednesday morning with a music rehearsal at 9:30 (the Hall of Fame orchestra had worked up a marvelous arrangement on “Still” which I was scheduled to sing following my induction Thursday night), a string of interviews at places like Fox News and Sirius/XM radio in the early afternoon, followed by dinner with my publisher, Troy Tomlinson, and my buddy, Steve Wariner, that evening. Steve had flown up to sing “Tips Of My Fingers” in my honor and then to present me with my Hall of Fame trophy. I can never thank him enough for making the effort and taking the time to be there. He has been such an important part of my journey, and my big night wouldn’t have been the same without him.
I slept in Thursday morning, had breakfast in my room, then hit the fitness center on the 23rd floor of our hotel. I have never walked on a treadmill with a view quite like that of looking out across New York City.
Thursday afternoon Gus Arrendale’s plane arrived with my manager, Lee Willard, my children, Terri, Jenni, and Jamey and Jamey’s wife, Beth, and my friend, Vickie, aboard, along with Gus himself and his friend, Karen. I will never be able to repay Gus for his kind generosity in bringing my family to be part of one of the biggest nights of my life. Neither Terri nor Vickie would have been strong enough health-wise to have made the trip, and only through Gus’s good graces were they able to be there. Thanks again, Gus, and y’all buy Springer Mountain Farms chicken!!
The hours after everyone arrived were hectic. Vickie and I walked the red carpet at 5:30, went to a VIP cocktail party with the other inductees at 6:00, had a group photo taken at 6:30 (where I told my fellow inductee, Alan Jackson, that he and I were the “token hillbillies” and he replied, “I’m used to that!”), and then joined some 3,000 of our closest friends for dinner.
Following the delicious meal, the awards presentation itself was amazing. Seven writers were inducted, and I was next to last on the bill. It was about two hours into the show when Steve sang, said some very nice things about me, then called me to the podium. He handed me my trophy and pointed to the microphone where I was supposed to speak.
I thanked him and everyone at the Songwriters Hall of Fame for the tremendous honor they were bestowing on me, shared a funny story from my early songwriting days, then borrowed from Little Jimmy Dickens, sharing his old line about seeing a turtle on top of a fence post and knowing the turtle didn’t get up there by himself. He had to have had some help along the way.
I related myself to that turtle, then thanked the many key people who helped me climb to the top of the fence post where I found myself at the moment. I admitted, “the view from up here is pretty darned incredible!” then walked to center stage, cued the orchestra, and sang “Still.” The crowd gave me a second standing ovation.
We were invited to an after-party in a 43rd-floor penthouse of the hotel, but we didn’t stay long. Everybody was tired and we knew we had a busy day ahead on Friday.
I really wanted to spend some time with my family…after all, it was Father’s Day weekend…and the weather was beautiful. We gathered at ten a.m. and went for a carriage ride in Central Park. We had lunch at a small Italian restaurant nearby and talked and visited until it was time for me to meet my band (who had flown up Friday morning) for sound check at the new Opry City Stage venue. We had a 90-minute show scheduled there on Friday night.
Everyone in our group came to the show, plus my booking agents, Bob Kinkead, his wife, Julie, along with Greg Scott and his wife, Sheree. I saw several longtime friends I hadn’t seen in years, and again it was a very special evening. We had to “sleep fast” that night, though, because our call time for the flight back to Nashville was ten a.m. on Saturday. With the change from Eastern to Central time, we were back in Music City at noon.
As I am writing this, I’ve had 48-hours to unwind from the whirlwind, but I haven’t been able to completely do so. I keep thinking of all the amazing things that took place in such a relatively short amount of time…and I’ll admit to sneaking a glance or two at my Hall of Fame trophy. It sure is pretty.
And I keep thinking back over the years and wondering how all these things happened to a kid from Commerce, Georgia, who was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Thank you, God, and thank you my fans and friends and family. What incredible new memories I was able to make this past week. I continue to be most richly blessed.