It’s good to greet you again, this time through the pages of our September fan club newsletter.
I’ve been looking forward to this month for quite some time now, and I’m excited that it’s finally arrived. I’ve got some very special events marked on my calendar over the next 26-days.
First, of course, will be the release of my new album, “Anderson,” on Sept. 14th. We’ve been teasing you with bits and pieces of the recordings for the past several weeks now, and I appreciate your kind comments based on what you’ve heard so far. On the 14th you’ll be able to hear it all, and I can only hope you’ll like it enough to want to add it to your collection. The downloads will be available through iTunes and other such places, and the hard-copy CD’s will be available for you to order through my website and through our office.
Jamey Johnson and I have had the chance to sing our song from the album, “Everybody Wants To Be 21,” on the Opry and on one of the upcoming Country’s Family Reunion shows, and you’ve been very generous with your praise. We both thank you.
Another song from the album, called “Waffle House Christmas,” has been endorsed by the Waffle House restaurant chain, and they have invited me back to one of my many hometowns, Avondale Estates, Georgia, as their special guest to help recognize the 10th anniversary of the Waffle House Museum located there. The Waffle House chain was founded in Avondale (where I went to high school) in 1955, the year I graduated. I probably ate one of the first waffles they ever served! How cool it will be to return there on Sept. 8th (noon to 3 p.m.) for a big meet ‘n greet….’n eat!
The Waffle House chain is also currently the largest operator of jukeboxes in America, and on top of everything else, they have promised to put our record on all 3,200 of the boxes in their stores! Maybe they’ll even come up with a Whisper Waffle!
A third major event this month will be on Sept. 19th when the Nashville Songwriters’ Association, Int’l. will present me with only their second Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Ryman. I am so proud of this honor for several reasons. First, it’s named for one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived, and, second, it’s only been presented once before – in 2013 to Willie Nelson. Talk about my being in great company! From what I’m told, several of my friends and contemporaries in country music will be on hand to honor me and sing some of my songs. My family and many of my friends will be there, and if there are any tickets left, perhaps one or two of you could join us as well. It promises to be quite a night.
Even with all that’s going on, we won’t be suspending any of our regular activities this month. We’ll be appearing on the Opry Sept. 11th, 15th, 25th, and 29th, and traveling to Scottsburg, Indiana, for a concert on the 21st and on to Winchester, Ohio, for another show on the 22nd. Come see us if you’re anywhere nearby.
Thank you for your continuing prayers and positive thoughts for my daughter, Terri, my grandson, Gabe, and my significant other, Vickie, as they struggle with health issues in their lives. There’s no new news to report, but it means so much when one of you comes up at a show or writes me that you’re keeping these special people close to your hearts. We all appreciate it more than you know.
Enjoy this month, the cooler weather, the merging of the baseball and the football seasons (my favorite time!), and we’ll see you back here in October. I’m thankful every day for each of you being in our fan club, and for your continuing to bless me in so many wonderful and special ways.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Quote Of The Month:
1) What song did you write that Debbie Reynolds recorded?
She recorded “City Lights” back in 1958.
2) How does a singer’s estate (after they pass away) keep making money? And if there are no heirs, who gets that money?
When an artist or a songwriter passes away, the royalty stream from their creative works continues to flow, and the monies go to whomever is designated in the will. If there is no will and no legal heirs, then I have no idea what happens.
3) I don’t see anything in Wisconsin being booked or even played near here. We would love to see you anywhere near Wisconsin.
You’re not paying close enough attention! We were in Menominee, Wisconsin, back on April 7th of this year and in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin, April 28th. We’ve also played several shows in Minnesota this year which would have been close enough for our Wisconsin fans and friends to attend. I receive letters like this all the time from other states, and I can only say that our concert schedule is available 24/7-365 at www.billanderson.com under the Tour section. If you’ll check it from time to time, you should never have to miss a show that you’d like to attend. Thanks.
4) Whatever happened to Blake Pickett, the girl who was your assistant on the game show, “Fandango”?
Thanks for all your questions. Send yours to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or P. O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076, and I’ll answer as best as I can. See you back here again next month.
I love this old picture from the 90’s taken on the set of my Opry Backstage television show. Left to right there’s Carl Smith, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Little Jimmy Dickens, and me holding Jimmy’s famous Raggedy Ann doll. Obviously, somebody had just said something very funny, and if I had to guess I’d say it was related to Jimmy and the doll. Below, Jeannie Seely and I are cracking up, too, onstage in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, last month. Jeannie had her own star installed in the Nashville Walkway of Stars in August, but decided to spend a little time relaxing on mine while she was downtown recently. I plan to take a nap on hers someday soon.
I’ve been all over the world singing about having a “Wild Weekend” for years, but in real life, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a weekend quite like the one I just had.
Actually, it was more like a “wild week” because it started last Tuesday afternoon when my publicist, Scott Adkins, and I flew to New York in advance of my Songwriters Hall of Fame induction set for Thursday. We landed around five o’clock and spent over 90-minutes trying to get into Manhattan at the heart of rush hour. I told Scott, “New York traffic is getting as bad as Nashville!”
We hit the ground running on Wednesday morning with a music rehearsal at 9:30 (the Hall of Fame orchestra had worked up a marvelous arrangement on “Still” which I was scheduled to sing following my induction Thursday night), a string of interviews at places like Fox News and Sirius/XM radio in the early afternoon, followed by dinner with my publisher, Troy Tomlinson, and my buddy, Steve Wariner, that evening. Steve had flown up to sing “Tips Of My Fingers” in my honor and then to present me with my Hall of Fame trophy. I can never thank him enough for making the effort and taking the time to be there. He has been such an important part of my journey, and my big night wouldn’t have been the same without him.
I slept in Thursday morning, had breakfast in my room, then hit the fitness center on the 23rd floor of our hotel. I have never walked on a treadmill with a view quite like that of looking out across New York City.
Thursday afternoon Gus Arrendale’s plane arrived with my manager, Lee Willard, my children, Terri, Jenni, and Jamey and Jamey’s wife, Beth, and my friend, Vickie, aboard, along with Gus himself and his friend, Karen. I will never be able to repay Gus for his kind generosity in bringing my family to be part of one of the biggest nights of my life. Neither Terri nor Vickie would have been strong enough health-wise to have made the trip, and only through Gus’s good graces were they able to be there. Thanks again, Gus, and y’all buy Springer Mountain Farms chicken!!
The hours after everyone arrived were hectic. Vickie and I walked the red carpet at 5:30, went to a VIP cocktail party with the other inductees at 6:00, had a group photo taken at 6:30 (where I told my fellow inductee, Alan Jackson, that he and I were the “token hillbillies” and he replied, “I’m used to that!”), and then joined some 3,000 of our closest friends for dinner.
Following the delicious meal, the awards presentation itself was amazing. Seven writers were inducted, and I was next to last on the bill. It was about two hours into the show when Steve sang, said some very nice things about me, then called me to the podium. He handed me my trophy and pointed to the microphone where I was supposed to speak.
I thanked him and everyone at the Songwriters Hall of Fame for the tremendous honor they were bestowing on me, shared a funny story from my early songwriting days, then borrowed from Little Jimmy Dickens, sharing his old line about seeing a turtle on top of a fence post and knowing the turtle didn’t get up there by himself. He had to have had some help along the way.
I related myself to that turtle, then thanked the many key people who helped me climb to the top of the fence post where I found myself at the moment. I admitted, “the view from up here is pretty darned incredible!” then walked to center stage, cued the orchestra, and sang “Still.” The crowd gave me a second standing ovation.
We were invited to an after-party in a 43rd-floor penthouse of the hotel, but we didn’t stay long. Everybody was tired and we knew we had a busy day ahead on Friday.
I really wanted to spend some time with my family…after all, it was Father’s Day weekend…and the weather was beautiful. We gathered at ten a.m. and went for a carriage ride in Central Park. We had lunch at a small Italian restaurant nearby and talked and visited until it was time for me to meet my band (who had flown up Friday morning) for sound check at the new Opry City Stage venue. We had a 90-minute show scheduled there on Friday night.
Everyone in our group came to the show, plus my booking agents, Bob Kinkead, his wife, Julie, along with Greg Scott and his wife, Sheree. I saw several longtime friends I hadn’t seen in years, and again it was a very special evening. We had to “sleep fast” that night, though, because our call time for the flight back to Nashville was ten a.m. on Saturday. With the change from Eastern to Central time, we were back in Music City at noon.
As I am writing this, I’ve had 48-hours to unwind from the whirlwind, but I haven’t been able to completely do so. I keep thinking of all the amazing things that took place in such a relatively short amount of time…and I’ll admit to sneaking a glance or two at my Hall of Fame trophy. It sure is pretty.
And I keep thinking back over the years and wondering how all these things happened to a kid from Commerce, Georgia, who was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Thank you, God, and thank you my fans and friends and family. What incredible new memories I was able to make this past week. I continue to be most richly blessed.