Something must have really tickled Vince Gill as he and Jeannie Seely presented me with a beautifully framed plaque commemorating my 62nd Opry Anniversary…and noting the fact that I have now been a Grand Ole Opry member longer than anyone in history. Notice that beneath his coat Vince is wearing a Bill Anderson t-shirt! In the second picture, Jamey Johnson and I are backstage preparing to cut (and eat!) the attractive and delicious cake the Opry provided for the occasion. And in the last photo, there’s nothing like sharing a special occasion with family members and friends that you love. I’ve said many times that it doesn’t matter what you have or what you achieve in this ol’ world…what matters is who you have beside you. And it meant so much to have all these special folks beside me (and behind me) on this most incredible night.
There’s nothing better than good times, good music, and laughter with good friends. I don’t know what Jeannie Seely and I were so tickled about in this first picture, but it must have been something pretty good. I hope we shared whatever it was with the Opry audience.
And speaking of the Opry, our special family is proud to welcome T. Graham Brown as the newest member of our clan. As I am writing this, they have not announced his induction date, but it will be something to look forward to for sure.
In our third picture this month James Freeze, who just celebrated his 33rd anniversary as a member of our Po’ Folks Band, and I are singing, “I Wonder If God Likes Country Music,” onstage at the Opry. James reprises Roy Acuff’s part on this song and never fails to get a massive reception from the crowd. As I wrote in my letter, I’ll look forward to performing this and all our other songs with James for another 33-years. It’s been a blast so far!
Seeing this picture of me relaxing in my dressing room at the Opry makes me want to go back “home” more than ever. Fortunately, I’m scheduled there three times this month…February 3rd, 17th, and 24th.
There’s no stage like the Opry stage, and I’ve been lucky enough to stand on it for over 62-years now. This must have been a summertime performance judging from the outfit I have on.
Memories are a big part of the Opry, and I have so many great ones. This was a fun night laughing with fellow members Johnny Russell and the incomparable Dottie West. Just guessing, but I’d say this was probably from somewhere in the 70’s. I love a good trip down Memory Lane.
Our first picture this month shows me the morning I visited Coffee, Country, & Cody on WSM Radio back in November when my recording of “The Country I Grew Up With” was first released. I wasn’t smiling when someone snapped this picture, but I was grinning ear to ear a few minutes later when Bill Cody announced my song as his show’s Pick Hit Of The Week! Bill has been a special friend for a lot of years, and I’ll always appreciate his many kindnesses to me! The second picture was taken on the Grand Ole Opry stage in early December when my friend and Atlanta Braves manager, Brian Snitker, and his wife, Ronnie, visited our show for the first time. I wasn’t able to perform that night, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to show Snit and Ronnie around. Buddy Cannon and his wife, Billie, joined us as well. And in keeping with the New Year spirit of “should old acquaintance be forgot”, someone sent me this old picture of me and Roy Acuff, taken back in the sixties. This was long before Mr. Roy and I really got to know each other by way of our recording of “I Wonder If God Likes Country Music.” The suit I’m wearing was the first rhinestone suit I ever owned, and was among those included in my recent exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.