Sorry we didn’t get the newsletter out on the first day of the month, but I was too busy Nov. 1st opening birthday cards, reading birthday e-mails and texts, answering phone calls, and mostly just being grateful for my fans, my family, and my friends.
I had a wonderful birthday! My daughter, Terri, took me to lunch, and then Lee and some of my Po’ Folks Band teamed up and took me out to a comedy club that night. They said with all I’ve had on my plate lately they figured I could use a few laughs, and they were right. What an incredible bunch…and what a wonderful time we had!
November is looking like it will be a fun month. On Tuesday the 6th, Waffle House is closing one of its Nashville restaurants and turning us loose inside to film a video for our new song, “Waffle House Christmas.” Plans are for this to be a wild and crazy celebration. Some of my and your favorite people are coming to help spread the cheer (and the grits and eggs and raisin bread!) and I can’t wait. Hopefully, we’ll have the video edited and ready for release immediately after Thanksgiving.
Things will turn a bit more serious the following night when the Nashville Association of Talent Directors, the people who book country shows all over the country and around the world, will present me with their Honors Award, “In recognition,” they say, “of your accomplishments and service to the Nashville entertainment industry.” I think when you translate that is really means, “You’ve been a good road-dog for over 50-years!” Regardless, I sincerely appreciate their honoring me this way. As I’ve said many times, I do this because I love it, not to try and win awards. Those are just the icing on the cake. Mighty tasty icing, I might add, and most appreciated.
I appreciate, too, all the orders that continue to come in for our latest recording, “Anderson,” and I love reading your nice comments after you’ve listened to it. We will be repackaging our “Nothin’ But Hits” CD this month as well, updating the cover and adding four additional tracks to the collection. Those will include “Old Army Hat,” “Papaw’s Sunday Boots,” and “A Lot Of Things Different,” songs we continue to get requests for but whose original albums have been discontinued. We also plan to add “Until The Light Comes On Again,” the song I wrote and recorded for my friend, Vickie, who is battling cancer. As always, all our product (including new t-shirts and hats) is available at www.billanderson.com.
The Opry begins its winter run at the Ryman Auditorium this month, and we will be appearing on the 3rd, 9th, 10th, 17th, 27th, 30th, and Dec. 1st. If you’re in town that last weekend, I’ll be riding in the Nashville Christmas Parade and performing “Waffle House Christmas” on the morning of the 1st. Come cheer me on and bring me some hot coffee! It’s bound to be chilly.
We’ll be taking off the entire week of Thanksgiving, allowing me and the band to enjoy time with our families. There’s always so much to be thankful for, and I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. Enjoy, and we’ll see you back here in December.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Tom T. Hall, retired and living south of Nashville where many aspiring country singers seem to congregate: “I’m the only person in Williamson county trying to get OUT of the music business!”
1) In 1988 you made an appearance on Nashville Now and you were singing a great song, but you lost your voice mid-song and had to stop singing. Do you remember that, and do you know the name of the song? I checked all of my albums and never found it. Great song whatever it was!
Yes, I remember that incident, although I’ve spent the past 30-years trying to forget it! The song was called, “When You Leave That Way (You Can Never Go Back”), which I recorded in an album called “Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow.” The song was later a big hit for the group, Confederate Railroad. (Actually, I need to credit my longtime guitar player, Les Singer, with remembering this. I recalled the event, but had forgotten what song we were playing. Fortunately, he hadn’t.)
2) What was the background for writing, “Saginaw, Michigan?” Was there a specific reason that Saginaw was the city chosen over another city for the title?
Don Wayne and I are listed as co-writers on that song, but the original idea was Don’s. I asked him once why he chose Saginaw, and he said he just liked the sound of the name. I seem to recall his saying that he got a map and was just looking for a the name of a town that seemed to fit. I had another connection myself, because during World War II my family shared a duplex apartment with a soldier and his wife from Saginaw. He was in the Army and stationed at Ft. Jackson, S.C., near Columbia where we lived.
3) Why is the Grand Ole Opry birthday celebrated in October when the first broadcast was in November, 1925?
Great question, and I hope I’ve got my facts straight. The early Opry Birthday Celebrations, as I recall, were held in the late fifties, and were connected to the old Country Music Disc Jockey Convention. And they WERE in late November. Someone decided the Nashville weather in late November was too cold, however, and, if I recall correctly, both events were moved to earlier in the month. When the DJ Convention morphed into the CMA Awards in the late sixties, for some reason (probably television) that event was scheduled in October. Later, the President declared October “Country Music Month,” and the Birthday Celebration and other related events moved there too in order to keep things cohesive. Now the CMA’s have been moved back to mid-November. Will the birthday celebration move back someday as well? Your guess is as good as mine.
4) I recently found on one of my CD’s a song recorded by you and Dolly Parton called, “My Perfect Reason.” It is so beautiful I put it on “repeat” for miles driving to
Colorado. Have you or are you planning to do more recording with Dolly?
I wish. I was honored that Dolly agreed to sing on this particular song with me, but it was actually not the first time we had sung together. When Dolly first moved to Nashville, long before her own career took off, she sang on other people’s demo sessions to help support herself. One of those songs was one I wrote called, “If It’s All The Same To You,” which Jan Howard and I later recorded. The original demo with me and Dolly was lost for years, but shortly before my box set was released a few years ago, a copy surfaced and Bear Family Records included it in the set. I’d love to record with her again, and who knows? I’ve learned to never say never. Are you listening, Dolly??
Thanks, as always, for your questions. Keep ’em coming to me at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076, or online at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you back here with more next month. Stay curious.
It was a special night at the Opry on Tuesday Oct. 30th when Ed Haley, the former World War II soldier who inspired my song, “Old Army Hat,” came to celebrate his 95th birthday. When I introduced him to the audience, they gave him a rousing standing ovation. He’s seen here with me and the song’s co-writer, Walt Aldredge, following my appearance on stage. Jeannie Seely and I had fun recording a radio special for Sirius/XM earlier in the month, as did Jamey Johnson and I as we sang our song, “Everybody Wants To Be 21” for the first time live on the Opry. On my birthday, Jamey texted me that “everybody wants to be 81…that’s the goal!