February 6, 2018

Hi Gang:

February may be the shortest month of the year, but I’ve got a really long list of things I want to share with you this go-around, so let’s get started:

First, we had a wonderful time on our 9th annual Country’s Family Reunion cruise to the Caribbean, and I want to thank all the great fans and friends who made the trip with us. We sang and laughed and went sightseeing and we ate. Then we ate some more. If you’ve ever been on a cruise you know what I’m talking about. Seems like there is a buffet open somewhere 24-7 for the entire week, and I seldom passed without stopping. From the food to the gym and back to the food again became my daily routine!

I arrived home to the wonderfully exciting news that I’ve been elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. This is the biggie…the one in New York where all the great writers from all genres of music are enshrined. From Irving Berlin to Bob Dylan and all the greats in between, I’ll be joining some very talented and exclusive company. The actual induction won’t be until June, so I’ve got several more months to let the news sink in and the excitement build, but I am certainly grateful and thankful for this honor. Who would have ever thought it on top of that little hotel in Commerce, Georgia, where I wrote my first hit song all those years ago?

It shouldn’t be too many more days until you can see and hear the new song I wrote for my friend, Vickie, when she was first diagnosed with cancer. It’s called, “Until The Light Comes On Again,” and we filmed a simple video to go along with the recording. We’ll get it finished as soon as our video editor wins his battle with the flu!

We’ve dedicated it to “All those whose lives have been interrupted by cancer,” and unfortunately that’s a lot of people. Maybe our song can help offer a glimmer of hope and a ray of sunshine to them as well as to the special lady I wrote it for. And, yes, that’s Vickie in the video with me.

Our tour schedule for the year is starting to take shape, and you’ll notice we’ll be teaming up with Bobby Bare on several of our concert dates. There wasn’t an empty seat at the one show Bobby and I worked together in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a couple of years ago, and naturally we are hoping for similar results everywhere else we go. I imagine most places will advertise it as a Country Music Hall of Fame show, since Bobby and I are both HOF members, and those shows are few and far between these days. We’ve highlighted the dates where I’ll be appearing with Bobby on the Tour page at www.billanderson.com.

I was in the recording studio for several days just prior to the cruise, and laid down nine new tracks for my next album project. It’s hard to believe that in over a half-century of recording there’s something different that I haven’t tried, but the approach to this record is definitely different. I hope to finish it up this Spring and perhaps have it available by the middle of the year.

While we were our cruising, my grandson, Gabe, got quite a surprise from the Make A Wish Foundation. Gabe, as you know, has suffered from cancer for more than half his life, and he got invited to a special Disney-character show at the Country Music Hall Of Fame. He thought he was just going as a spectator, but mid-performance they called him up from the audience and announced that he and his entire family would be going for a week’s worth of fun to Disney World all expenses paid! The date hasn’t been set, but it will be sometime this year. To say that he’s excited would be the understatement of all time. Thanks to each of you who continue to ask about him and to pray for his recovery. And thanks, Make A Wish. You are wonderful!

We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you at shows coming up in Effingham, Illinois (16th), Wabash, Indiana (17th), The Villages, Florida (Mar. 1st), and Shelby, N.C. (Mar. 2nd). And we’ll see you back here next month.

Thanks so much for everything.