1) I was wondering if you were a regular listener to the Grand Ole Opry when you were a young boy and a teen? Also, who were some of your favorite country singers growing up?
I listened to the Opry whenever I could pick it up through the static down in South Carolina and Georgia. In those days only one 30-minute segment was broadcast anywhere other than on WSM. I listened to that portion on our local NBC stations in Columbia and Atlanta. My very favorite Opry singer was Hank Williams, but I also really liked Carl Smith, Ernest Tubb, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, George Morgan, Hank Snow, Jimmy Dickens, and more.
2) Do you have one favorite guitar that you play? Also, do you play any other stringed instruments like a mandolin or fiddle?
My favorite of all my guitars is a 1959 D-28 Martin that I purchased for $185 at the Hank Snow Music Center not long after I moved to Nashville.It was featured on many of my recordings, including “Golden Guitar,” and can be seen on several album covers. I don’t play it much anymore for fear of it getting damaged or run over by a reindeer. On stage I mostly play a custom-made black Yasuda model that was given to me by Max Yasuda, a country singer from Japan. I write on either a small Baby Taylor guitar or on the special edition Martin given to me by the Opry on my 50th anniversary as a member of the cast. No, I don’t play any other instruments.
3. Are song titles copyrighted? As an example, the movie, “Frozen,” has a song in it titled “Let It Go,” and you have one by the same title although they are not the same songs. I do believe I have also heard at least one other song titled, “Still,” and it’s nowhere near your version of “Still.”
No, a song title cannot be copyrighted, and that’s why you often hear different versions of songs with the same name. The pop group, The Commodores, had a song called “Still,” and there have been other songs with titles the same as mine…such as “Wild Weekend” and “City Lights.” As a writer, I try to stay away from titles that I know have already been written just as a matter of principal.and professional courtesy. I’ve slipped up and written someone else’s title a couple of times without realizing it. Hopefully I’ll never do it again.
I wish I could get to all your questions, but please know that I appreciate every one. I try to personally answer as many of the ones that don’t appear in this column as I possibly can. Keep ’em coming to email@example.com or mail them to me at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. See you back here next month.