1) Have you ever considered recording cover songs by some of the late and great artists who have gone on? Example – Carl Smith, Hank Williams, Wynn Stewart, and many more?
I’ve recorded many songs over the years that have been hits for some of the greats. I can think of at least four Hank Williams songs that I have done…”Wedding Bells,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “I Dreamed About Mama Last Night,” and “Pictures From Life’s Other Side.” There have probably been others. In recent years, though, the trend has been to record more original songs than covers. But if it fit my project, I would never say no to a great song.
2) Do you think the Opry will ever go back to the same format that it used to be?
I assume you mean to the format where one artist hosted a particular segment of the show, opened and closed that segment with their own songs, and introduced the guest artists…as opposed to having an announcer do it all. They changed the format in response to COVID, with the purpose being to have fewer people onstage at one time. I don’t know what the plan is moving forward, and I’m not sure the Opry even knows at this point. If and when I hear anything, I’ll gladly pass it along. Out of curiosity, which way do you like best?
3) When you wrote “The Lord Knows I’m Drinking” did you write it in the tempo that Cal Smith recorded it or in the tempo you later released?
My version was for my Whisperin’ Bluegrass album, and a bluegrass arrangement just lends itself to a faster tempo. Or, if the tempo itself is not faster, it SOUNDS faster because of the rolling banjo and other acoustical instruments. I wrote the song more in the vein of Cal Smith’s original record, and the fact that it was such a big hit leads me to think that was the right way to do it.
Quickies: Your July newsletter dealt with a question about your high school years. How many people were in your graduating class? That’s been a few years ago, but I seem to remember it was around 140. A friend of mine knew Jack Greene when he worked in your hometown of Decatur, Georgia. Did you know him then? Yes…he worked at a glass repair shop and my dad handled their insurance. Jack played music at night at the Covered Wagon in Atlanta. Do you know why Neal McCoy has never been invited to join the Opry? No I don’t. You’ll have to ask someone who is involved in making those decisions. I am not. Do you have an address where I can write to Connie Smith? You can write to any of the Opry artists in care of the Grand Ole Opry, 2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville, TN. 37214. I seem to remember you once had a drummer you called Snuffy Miller. Was that his real name, and is he still with you? His real name was Len Miller, and he was with me from 1964 into the early 70’s. He passed away a few years ago. What are your thoughts about karaoke music? I try not to think about it.
Thanks for continuing to supply me with interesting questions for the Ask Bill column. If you are curious about something, let me know. I’ll do my best to try and satisfy that curiosity.
Write me at email@example.com or in care of P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. We’ll see you back here next month.