I told you in our February newsletter that I was scheduled for some elective surgery on February 27th and that I’d be taking the month of March to rest and recuperate.
Well, that procedure was postponed, and I have very little news to report in this month’s letter. So I’ve decided to use the time and space to catch up on a whole bunch of questions you have submitted to our Ask Bill column these past several weeks. I still can’t get to them all, but this is a good sampling.
I plan to resume my monthly letters in April when I’ll have news about some new old music that we’re about to make available. What is “new old” music? You’ll have to join us here next month to find out. Meantime, enjoy!
Well, I had hoped to start off our February newsletter by telling you that I was safely home from California with my first-ever shiny new Grammy Award tucked up under my arm. But, alas, a funny thing happened on my way up to the podium.
They gave “my” Grammy in the American Roots category, where I had been nominated for my performance on “Someday It’ll All Make Sense” featuring Dolly Parton, to Aaron Neville. Aaron is a great artist, very deserving, and I offer him my congratulations. Sure, I’m disappointed, but I’m not heartbroken by a long shot. It was a thrill to have been nominated.
Had I won the Grammy I had planned to thank a whole bunch of people who contributed so much to the effort. Since I didn’t get to do that onstage, I’ll do it here: Dolly, you made the record come alive with your great voice and styling, and I can’t thank you enough for laying it all on the line for me. Cheryl Riddle, thank you for making sure Dolly heard the song in the first place. Thomm Jutz, thank you for producing a great record. Bobby Tomberlin and Ryan Larkins, thanks for allowing me to co-write this amazing song idea with you. Rusty Gaston, from Sony Music Publishing, thank you for believing enough to take the record to Cindy Mabe at UMG Records…and, Cindy, thanks to you and your incredible team for working so hard to get us the Grammy nomination. It was a team effort from the get-go, and I couldn’t be prouder or more grateful to you all.
And to each of you, my fans and my friends, thanks for your love and support. I’m just sorry I couldn’t have rewarded you with the prize you were helping me seek.
My trip to the west coast was not a wash-out by any means. My son, Jamey, found an empty seat on a Delta airplane and flew out to join me for the festivities. Between his hectic schedule and mine over the years, we haven’t had the chance to do many things like this together, and it was a hoot sharing such a special time with him. Now I’ve just got to go to work and try to create something good enough to get another nomination next year!
In other news, I’m anxious to go back to the Opry House this month for my first shows there since the new backdrop and new sound system have been installed. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the upgrades, and I’m anxious to see and hear them for myself. We have two scheduled appearances this month, on Valentine’s Day Tuesday the 14th and the following Saturday February 18th. Come see us if you can…tune us in if you can’t.
I feel I should mention that our exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame is heading into its home stretch with a closing date of Sunday March 19th. Many of you have said you still hope to come see it before it closes, so I’m just reminding you. It was open the entire year of 2022, and I’m happy to tell you that more people attended the museum this past year than any year in history. I’m proud to have perhaps been a small part of that.
I won’t be performing anywhere in March due to a minor elective surgical procedure I have scheduled for February 27th. If all goes as planned I will only be in the hospital overnight, and will be recouping at home for a few weeks after that. So I’m stacking up on books to read and movies to watch. As always, your positive thoughts and prayers on my behalf will be most appreciated.
Enjoy as best as you can these final few weeks of winter, keeping in mind that Spring will be here before we know it. Thanks for all of your continued kindnesses to me, and I hope to see you back here as early in March as possible. My best to you all.
I wish each of you twelve months of health and happiness here in 2023. After a couple of wacky years dealing with Covid, inflation, and all kinds of other distractions, let’s hope the roads smooth out and we can return to some sense of normalcy in the days ahead. I hope you had a great Christmas, and I appreciate your joining us for our first newsletter of the New Year.
Christmas was anything but normal for those of us in Whisperville. Five members of my family tested positive for Covid during the holidays, and then sub-zero temperatures, snow, and wind chills of minus 20-degrees invaded us. Like many of you, we had to spread our Christmas family time across an entire week, but I learned to be flexible years ago when I was on tour so much of the time. This was just another small pothole, and I’ve hit lots of those over the years.
I spent much of my time reading your letters, notes, and Christmas cards, and I thank you for every one of them. Your messages were very kind and thoughtful.
As we move into a New Year I find myself looking over my shoulder at the year just past, and while lots of good things happened in 2022, there was a large dose of sadness as well. Seems like every time I turned around I was having to say goodbye to somebody special in my life.
Peter Cooper, the co-author of my 2016 autobiography and the prime architect behind my exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame, died unexpectedly December 6th, the result of a fall. He was only 52-years old. He and I bonded from his early days in Nashville as a reporter for the Tennessean newspaper. After all, we were both journalists from South Carolina who loved country music and baseball more than just about anything. We went to the Braves Spring Training together, to Nashville Sounds games on many occasions, and once even snuck away to Green Bay, Wisconsin, to watch his beloved Packers play that other sport at Lambeau Field. Working on the book and the exhibit with him were truly labors of love. He leaves behind a 13-year old son and a lot of hurtin’ hearts…including mine.
And then a few days before Christmas, I got word that Charlie Monk, the self-proclaimed Mayor Of Music Row and a friend of mine for more than fifty years, had passed away as well. Many of you were familiar with Charlie as the morning DJ on Willie’s Roadhouse on Sirius/XM radio. Charlie was one of those guys who made everybody he came in contact with feel better simply by smiling and saying hello. Music Row won’t be the same without our Mayor.
Looking ahead, our February newsletter will probably be a few days late because I hope to include some news and a picture or two from my trip to the Grammy Awards Feb. 5th out in Los Angeles. Whether I win or not, receiving the nomination is a great way to begin the New Year. I haven’t been on a commercial airline flight since Covid broke out in 2020, though, so wish us smooth skies and safe landings.
Right now I don’t plan to go back on tour this year, but I do have some interesting projects in the works. Among other things, I hope to write a bunch of new songs, make a new record or two, and continue to perform as often as possible at the Grand Ole Opry. There’s excitement in my family, too, as my son, Jamey, begins a new phase of his career at Delta Air Lines by moving up to pilot their largest planes, the 757 and 767. My grandson, Blake, is going on a six-week mission trip to Prague, Czechoslovakia, for Crusade For Christ in May, and grandkids, Gabe and Greta, will both be graduating from high school that same month. Gabe’s health continues to hold steady, and we continue to thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers on his behalf.
Well, I’m about out of time and space, so stay warm, stay safe, and as always, thanks for everything….
Happy December….and a very Merry Christmas to you all!
Santa came a little early to Whisperville this year. He stopped by on November 15th and delivered a Grammy nomination to me for my and Dolly’s bluegrass recording of “Someday It’ll All Make Sense!” If there’s nothing else under my tree this year, I have already received the most exciting and most appreciated gift possible.
The winners won’t be announced until February 5th in Los Angeles, but a Grammy nominee is a Grammy winner in my book. It’s my fifth nomination, but my first as an artist. The others were songwriter nominations, and I have yet to win one. Maybe the fifth time will be the charm! We are nominated in a new musical category called “American Roots”, and we’re the only Nashville-based act among the final five. Wish us luck!
Speaking of Awards shows, I’m sure by now most of you have seen pictures from the CMA Awards where my “date” was my 14-year old granddaughter, Hallie. What a marvelous night we had…she enjoying the artists and the music and me enjoying her. I wouldn’t take a million dollars for the look in her eye from the moment we got into the limousine that afternoon until the moment the driver delivered her back home at almost midnight. It was a priceless experience for us both. Truth be known, though, she probably slept through school the next day!
I had another incredible experience the following week when my daughters, Terri and Jenni, along with Terri’s husband, Grant, and I traveled down to rural Georgia to spend a couple of days tracing some of our Anderson family roots. You can read more about it in an article from a local newspaper, (Stephanie: Insert link here please.) It’s so much fun being able to take time off work these days and spend it with my family. I was on the road so much for so many years that I missed a lot of growing-up moments with my children, but I’m sure treasuring my moments with them…and my grandchildren…now.
I’ve not totally turned into a slacker, though, and I’m looking forward to my three nights working the Opry this month….December 6th, 13th, and 17th. It’s the one time of year we get to sing our Christmas songs, and I always look forward to that. Maybe somebody will even show our “Waffle House Christmas” video another time or two this year. I can’t help but smile every time I see it. What a fun day it was filming with Kid Rock and Tanya Tucker in the same room….not to mention Jeannie Seely, Gretchen Wilson, and yours truly. Somehow, the Waffle House chain managed to survive!
Speaking of my older recordings, the man about whom the song, “Old Army Hat” was written, Ed Haley, turned 99-years old back in October. I know you join me in commemorating this special occasion and wishing Mr. Haley a wonderful year ahead.
I hope each of you had a great Thanksgiving (I did), and that the Christmas season brings you joy and peace and happiness with the ones you love. I’m not planning anything fancy…just relaxing by the fire and being grateful for my many, many blessings.
See you back here in the New Year. Thanks for everything….