I hope each of you had a blessed Easter this past weekend because I sure did. I spent the morning listening to my son, Jamey, teach a Sunday School class at his church, and came away convinced that were he not such a good airline pilot, he would make a marvelous preacher. He and Beth teach a group of college-aged kids, and they hung on his every word. After church, we met up with a dozen other family members and friends for a delicious Easter buffet and egg hunt for the kids.
March was an eventful month in Whisperville. I had a great time in Florida watching some pre-season baseball, then returning home to play a concert in our bass player, James Freeze’s, hometown of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. The reception they gave him and us was incredible. It was so much fun to see James’ friends and fans welcome him back to the place where his musical career began when he was only 12-years old.
We also finished recording our new album last month, and we plan to release the first single in June to coincide with my induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Other selected cuts will be made available online after that, and the full album will be released in September. The album will be titled simply, “Anderson.” I wrote or co-wrote each of the eleven songs. I sure hope you will like it.
The song that I wrote for my friend, Vickie, who is battling cancer, is scheduled to be released on April 13th. You should be able to see the video on our website then as well as on other social media outlets around the world. The song is called, “Until The Light Comes On Again,” and I hope it helps shine a light into your world and into the worlds of others who are hurting.
March did bring a few sad moments, including the passing of my longtime friend, former Georgia governor and U.S. Senator, Zell Miller. As you know, I stay out of politics, but Zell was special…not only a great American but one of the biggest country music fans I ever knew. And over in the United Kingdom, a man who put several Bill Anderson songs on the British pop charts, singer-comedian Ken Dodd, passed away at the age of 90. His signature song was one I wrote called “Happiness,” never a big hit in this country but known far and wide in the UK. Zell and Ken both touched my life in their own positive way and each will be missed.
From the personal corner of my world, my grandson, Gabe, along with his entire family, really enjoyed their trip to Disneyworld sponsored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The doctors changed Gabe’s medication when they returned, and we can only hope and pray the new meds will put his cancer into remission with fewer side effects. Unfortunately, he has to undergo unrelated sinus surgery later this month. Vickie has also begun a new chemo regimen, and I can only ask that you keep both her and Gabe in your thoughts and prayers. My daughter, Terri, is slowly improving from her surgeries, but she still has quite a way to go. I hate for this sound like a hospital report, but you are kind enough to continue to ask, and I try to keep you updated as best as I can.
We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you this month in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Texas. Thanks for your continued friendship and support, and my best to you all.
1) Hank Williams’ publisher kept little scraps of unfinished songs of his, and awhile back they had writers like Bob Dylan and Vince Gill try to finish the lyrics or provide a melody for these songs. Do you have notebooks of unfinished songs that may get left behind for future songwriters and artists to try and complete for you in a similar way?
I may have answered this question previously, but here goes again: I don’t have anything like that in any set of organized notebooks or file folders, but I guess if somebody wanted to go through my desk drawers, guitar cases, briefcases, and trashcans when I’m gone they might find a few scribblings. I don’t know that any of them would be worth anything because musical tastes and fashions and trends change rapidly. Plus, they’d probably have a hard time reading my handwriting!
2) What was Roger Miller like as a person? Some of his songs were almost foolish, but what was he like personally?
I wrote in one of my books that, despite his limited education, Roger was the closest thing to a genius that I’ve ever known. He could turn a phrase or come up with a song idea or say something profound quicker than anyone I ever met, but at the same time he might not remember what he said five seconds later. He could have been the original poster child for ADD. Along with his incredible sense of humor he also had a loving spirit and a kind heart. He treated my parents as if they were his own…and once even said he wished they were. Like most of us, he had many sides to his personality, and most of them were good. I loved him like a brother.
And here’s a few questions that only require short answers:
3) Are you guys going to be recording any more Family Reunion shows anytime soon? Yes, but I don’t have the actual taping days yet.
Whatever happened to Jimmy Gateley who was in your band? Jimmy passed away in 1985.
Will you be coming to Branson anytime soon? I hope so, but it’s not on our schedule at the moment. You can always check our dates atwww.billanderson.com under the Tour section.
Will you ever have Tony Jackson on a show with you? I am told Tony will be on the 2019 Family Reunion cruise with us.
Why did Carol Lee quit singing background on Country’s Family Reunion?
Because she retired from the music business.
Thanks for all your questions. You can always send yours to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at P. O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. We’ll have more for you next month.
“We were all smiles on Easter…even the Easter bunny…shown here with me, Gabe, and Jamey. Can you believe how tall my grandson, Blake, is now? He’s 6’5″ and still growing. It was so much fun sharing the day with him, Gabe, Hallie, and Sophie. And going back across the years, can you pick me out of the crowd gathered for my third birthday party? This picture was found stuck face down to the bottom of an old dresser drawer by my granddaughter, Rae, and I recently had it restored. My mom had written the names of each child across the back…what a treasure!”
It’s always exciting to see new members named to our Country Music Hall of Fame, and this year’s inductees are no exception. Congratulations to Ricky Skaggs and to the families of Johnny Gimble and Dottie West. I’ve been fortunate enough to share stages, ball fields, and backstage areas with each of them, and thought you might enjoy seeing these pictures.