1) I am curious…are you the current longest running member of the Grand Ole Opry?
No, there are probably several Opry members who can run longer than I can. Oh, wait….you mean have I been at the Opry the longest, right? No, Stonewall Jackson joined the show in the late fifties, and I didn’t come along until 1961. There are no living members who joined between Stonewall and me, though, so next to him I’ve been around the longest. Hopefully, I’ll get to celebrate being a 60-year member in 2021.
2) Did you ever get interviewed by Ken Burns for the video, “Country Music?” With your standing in the music business I can’t see how they didn’t.
You must not have watched the show because I’m all over it. Episode #4, which focuses on artists and music from the sixties, features me the most.
3) What can we do about the fact that Country’s Family Reunion is not on the air anymore? Is there a petition we can sign? How do we contact RFD?
This was my most-asked question this month, and I wish I knew the answer. I don’t know of a petition you could sign, but you can write to RFD-TV at 49 Music Square W., Nashville, TN. 37203. I’m not sure it would do any good, however, as the decision was a joint one between Larry Black’s production company, Gabriel Communications, and the network. Larry made his money from CFR on the sales of the DVD sets, but now with streaming and all kinds of free music and online video services, the DVD’s don’t sell much anymore. The shows are very costly to produce, and it finally reached the point where somebody had to pull the plug. The shows were a big part of my life for 23-years. Thankfully, you can still access them on Country Road TV.
Quickies: What song took you the longest to write? Believe it or not, “Peel Me A ‘Nanner” took over three years to finish. I couldn’t figure how to match verses to the silly little chorus that I wrote in about five minutes. How can I share a subject that you could be inspired to turn into a song? As with all songwriting questions, I suggest you reach out to the Nashville Songwriters Association, International, at www.nashvillesongwriters.com. They have some amazing programs for aspiring songwriters. Will there be or was there a tribute for Jan Howard? Jeff Hoag, the outstanding new nighttime announcer on AM650 WSM, did a marvelous radio tribute to Jan not long after she passed. I don’t know for sure, but I would imagine that show is still available in the WSM archives. Mandy Barnett recently honored Jan by singing “Evil On Your Mind” on the televised Grand Ole Opry. I collect country music DVD’s, but I do not have any of Bill Anderson. Have you ever done any DVD’s and, if not, why? I assume you mean full-concert DVD’s, and I have done only one. That was on the occasion of my 40th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member back in 2001. It was titled, “Bill Anderson – 40 Years Of Hits LIVE.” It was released by Varese-Sarabande Records in California, but my guess is that it is probably out of print.
Thanks for getting the New Year off to a good start with your questions. I’ve about exhausted all the ones in my files from 2020, though, so send me some new ones. You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. Fill up my mailbox, and we’ll see you back here next time.