Well, I’ll have to admit that returning to the Opry stage after our long, COVID-induced absence was a real hoot. Once I remembered which end of the microphone to sing into…and which way to face standing on stage…it was like riding a bicycle. I just hope I never have to be away for such a long time ever again.
And it was so cool to see fans sitting shoulder to shoulder in the pews and smiling and laughing without masks covering their faces. I’ve taken that for granted for almost sixty years, but never again. Now if we can just return to our normal backstage atmosphere. That’s where so much of the fun is for us…not to mention the free coffee and the free popcorn!
Our next Opry appearances will be on Saturday June 5th, Tuesday June 15th, and Friday June 25th. Hope you’ll tune us in when you can.
And speaking of the Opry, our fan section for my 60th Anniversary on July 17th has almost sold out, so they are adding more seats for those of you who have yet to sign up. Remember, to be part of our group…and a meet ‘n greet following the show if we’re allowed to have one…order your tickets from www.opry.com and put in the code BILL60. Did I mention you get a 20% discount? Well, you do.
I’ll have to admit that there was a bit of a bitter-sweet feeling to being back at the Opry because my longtime guitar player, Les Singer, wasn’t with us there for the first time in 40-years. Les is having some health issues that prohibit him from playing right now, and I hope you’ll keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Kerry Marks and Danny Parks from the Opry staff band filled in. Lester, it took two of them to take your place, Pal!
I’m getting ready to go into the recording studio here in a few days to begin working on what I hope will be a new album to be released later this year. At the moment I’m not sure if we’re talking a complete album or maybe a shortened EP with six or seven cuts, but regardless I’m anxious to put down some of the new music I’ve been working on. Stay tuned.
My buddy, Dallas Wayne, from Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius-XM satellite radio, came to town recently and recorded a new song that he, Buddy Cannon, and I wrote called, “He Even Brought Her Flowers.” I’m not sure just when it will be released, but I’ll keep you posted. Steve Wariner has recorded a great new version of our song, “Christmas In Your Arms,” that will be featured in his new Christmas album later this year, and Joe Mullins’ bluegrass version of, “Go Spread The Gospel,” is now available in his new collection titled, “Somewhere Beyond The Blue.” Jimmy Fortune is hosting a new television show called, “My Life My Songs,” and I recorded an episode with him, laughing and discussing my crazy career. Hopefully, that will be airing soon. I may not be on tour this year, but I’m managing to stay busy. And I like it that way.
I was saddened, as I’m sure you were, over the Memorial Day weekend to learn of the passing of B. J. Thomas. He was a terrific singer, a wonderful man who overcame a lot of adversity in his life, and, I’m proud to say, a good friend. He left us a lot of great music. May he rest in peace.
On the personal side of things, I can’t begin to tell you how much my family and I have appreciated your thoughts, prayers, and concerns expressed for my grandson, Gabe, and his sister, Hallie, as they went through a bone marrow transplant this past month in an effort to rid Gabe’s young body of the rare form of cancer that he’s been fighting for the past ten years. It’s been a very intense period of time for all of us, but knowing you were lifting us up in prayer has meant more than you’ll ever know.
The transplant itself went well, but this was only the beginning of the journey. Gabe will be in the hospital for several more weeks followed by a long recovery time at home. I hope you will continue to keep him, his parents, and his siblings in your prayers. Hallie is sore and moving slowly, but overall she is doing fine.
I goofed in last month’s newsletter by failing to wish all the moms a Happy Mother’s Day, and, believe me, I heard about it. My apologies. So, lest I forget again, to all you dads out there, let me wish you a Happy Father’s Day on the 20th. Enjoy the hazy, crazy, lazy days of summer, and we’ll see you back here in July. Thanks for everything.