I’m sorry our Facebook Chat scheduled for April 24th didn’t get to happen as planned, but it was totally out of our hands. About ten o’clock that morning, I was checking Facebook messages and everything was fine. A little before noon, Stephanie Orr-Buttrey, our website manager, called and said we were in trouble. Our Facebook page had suddenly disappeared and she was unable to get it back up and working. She quickly posted the cancellation notice that most of you received, and we had to start looking for a Plan B.
1) One of my all-time favorite albums is your duet album with Jan Howard called “Bill And Jan Or Jan And Bill.” The album is filled with such a terrific mix of country songs. Do you have any special memories of recording this particular album?
Oh boy, I sure do! Jan and I had done so many serious songs on our first two records together, that we decided from the get-go that this record was going to be FUN. It started with the title. I wanted to call it “Bill & Jan,” naturally, and she wanted to call it “Jan & Bill.” So we settled on using both names, and the liner notes were a series of letters we wrote to one another about the concept. We laughed our heads off coming up with those. Then so many of the songs were light-hearted and fun….including “Dis-Satisfied,” “Beautiful People,” “We,” and “Someday We’ll Be Together.” We cut the original version of “Satin Sheets” here, too, before Jeanne Pruitt had her big hit with it. Jan and I took our music seriously, but we didn’t take ourselves seriously, and this album was certainly proof of that. I’m glad you like it. We both liked it too.
2) A little while back my brother heard you sing a song, “Someday It Will All Make Sense.” Did you write this song and record it? He loved it and wanted to know if it was available.
I co-wrote that song with Bobby Tomberlin and Ryan Larkins, and I’ve sung it a couple of times on the Grand Ole Opry. I have not recorded it yet, but I hope to and plan to as soon as I can get back into the recording studio. I would like very much for it to be part of my next album. Tell your brother I’m glad he likes it.
3) I have a question for you. You have done so much – written and sung thousands of hit songs, acted on a soap opera, appeared many times on TV and, of course, the Grand Ole Opry. You have traveled around the world and much more. Everyone seems to have their own Bucket List. What are a couple of items still on your B.L.??
Professionally, I can’t think of a thing. I have been blessed far beyond my wildest imagination. Personally, at the top of my list is living to see my grandson, Gabe, become cancer-free and able to pursue his life and his dreams. That, along with health and happiness for all my children and grandchildren. My list is actually a pretty short one.
Quickies: Wasn’t there some talk awhile back about Bear Family issuing a boxed set to follow up on “The First Ten Years?” Has there been any movement on that? There was some talk, but it seems to have died out. I don’t think those folks are putting out as much music today as they once were. What is your road schedule for this year? I would love to see you again and hear you sing. You don’t know how much I’d like to be out there pickin’ and singin’ for you, but due to COVID and my current family situation, I am taking the entire year of 2021 off the road. Will I go back on tour in 2022? Stay tuned. When someone does a parody of a song, does the original writer get credit? Is the writer asked if the song can be used? I’m thinking of Sheb Wooley and the parody he did as Ben Colder on “Still.” Yes, the writer gets co-writing credit on the parody. The writer doesn’t have to give permission for the parody to be released, but the publisher, who owns the copyright, has to grant a license. I always took parodies of my songs as great compliments. They meant my original song had been successful enough to warrant someone’s making fun of it. You’ve always had a love for baseball. What is your favorite position? Being left-handed, my options were limited because lefties don’t play second base, shortstop, third base, or catcher. I loved pitching, and then playing first base on the days I wasn’t on the mound. Will there be any more Country’s Family Reunion shows in the near future? This continues to be my most asked question which tells me that many of you really enjoyed those shows. I enjoyed them,too, but the decision as to whether any more shows will be recorded is out of my hands. Larry Black owns the copyright to that name and that series. The decision rests with him and his sons who now run his company.
Thanks as always for your questions. I’ll do it again in June if you’ll send me the material I need. Address your questions to me at AskBill@billanderson.com or at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. See you back here next month.
“The Chick-fil-A restaurant in Hermitage, Tennessee, devoted an entire day to my grandson, Gabe, back on April 10th, outfitting their employees in specially made Team Gabe t-shirts and donating a percentage of their profits that day to the family’s medical expenses. They urged the community to come together in supporting Gabe’s upcoming transplant procedure, a kind and generous gesture by a wonderful company. Many of our longtime fan club members will remember Cathy Cox who worked in my office back in the late sixties and early seventies. Cathy’s mom, Frances Cox, was my fan club president for several years and contributed so much to my early career. I hadn’t seen Cathy (now Cathy Allen) in over 40-years, but she recently flew to Nashville from her home in Colorado to spend a long weekend, and I had the pleasure of meeting her for lunch. Needless to say, we relived a lot of old memories. And speaking of memories, how about this old picture of me and Roy Acuff from back in the sixties? He was one of my musical heroes, but neither of us dreamed when this picture was taken that we would end up recording together a timeless song called, “I Wonder If God Likes Country Music.” Mr. Roy’s legacy will live forever at the Grand Ole Opry.”
My journal this time is not something I have written, but rather a letter from my daughter-in-law, Beth, in which she shares with you the latest news regarding her family and, in particular, her son, Gabe, and his ongoing battle with cancer.
It took a lot for Beth to open up her heart the way she did in this letter and bring you inside our family circle during what promises to be a very hopeful yet stressful time. We are facing some anxious days, but we are optimistic that the outcome will more than justify the anxiety and the fear. Thank you for taking the time to read this…and thanks in advance for your help and your prayers which I know will be forthcoming.
She begins her letter by addressing everyone as “Team Gabe.”
10 Years!!! This month marks ten years since our sweet boy was diagnosed with cancer. Ten years of treatments, ten years of ups and downs, and too many surgeries and trips to the hospital to count. It was very important to Jamey and me when Gabe was diagnosed to be intentional about sharing what we thought was essential for prayer and support, while trying to not be “the cancer family.” We have tried to be as “normal” as we could and treat life as “normal” as we could. We now feel that we have no choice but to share more details about what is going on with Gabe and the coming months. After seeing all of the specialists at multiple hospitals across the country, and trying countless chemo treatments and therapies, we have run out of things to try and put Gabe’s cancer into remission. Our Amazing doctors and nurses have been able to treat Gabe’s cancer and maintain it from spreading, but nothing has ever been able to put it into remission or cure it.
When I say that many prayers have gone into our next steps, that would be an understatement. After consulting our doctors, nurses, our pastor, therapists, and lots of prayer, we have decided to go “all in” and do a bone marrow transplant. Gabe ultimately made the decision and we are so thankful for his maturity and growth in the Lord to come to this decision. This is Huge and we do not take these next steps lightly. The first prayer that was answered was finding a perfect match for Gabe. The Lord was faithful in answering our request and his sister, Hallie, is his Perfect match!! For those of you that don’t know, this is not usually the case and a perfect sibling match is the best case scenario for the transplant to be successful.
We are planning on starting the transplant in March of 2021. We are just a few months away from that and are already planning our next steps. We are having to be extra careful and vigilant to keep our family safe during this awful pandemic. This past week we moved Sophie out of in person school and completely online. Gabe is already online and we are being even more strict with where we are going and who we are with. All this to say, please don’t be offended when we hang back from crowds, don’t give hugs, and aren’t comfortable talking with you if you aren’t wearing a mask. Our kids aren’t allowed to do much of anything outside of school and limited activities.
The verse that we have always clung to for Gabe through the years has been Joshua 1:9.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The Lord has been so faithful and Gabe has been so brave through everything he has been through, and now Hallie is too. She is not only pleased that she is the match, she is willing and anxious to try and help Gabe. We are so grateful for her spirit and attitude with this. What a gift!!
This will be a huge transition for our family as Hallie will be having a painful surgery, and Gabe and I will be in the hospital away from family anywhere from 5-8 weeks. We are making new Team Gabe shirts that will be coming out in January for order!! Jamey and I felt like we needed to let people in and keep you updated so you know how to pray for us. You can follow our page at https://facebook.com/Team-Gabe-102255765085555/ for updates throughout the process. Please feel free to share with family and friends so that they can pray for us as well.
Thank you for loving us so well the past ten years and continuing to support us through your love, support, and prayers. We appreciate it more than you know! Hopefully this time next year there will be no more virus and No More Cancer!!
If you would like to join Team Gabe and help support Beth and Jamey in their struggle, I hope you’ll start by wearing one of the shirts they have had made and by keeping all of us in your thoughts and prayers throughout these next few months. We are being presented with a great opportunity here, but we also understand that we could well be facing a long and bumpy ride.
Thanks so much…and God bless.