I can’t believe I just typed the word “December” at the top of this page.
Is it December already? That means Thanksgiving is in our rear view mirrors (I hope you had a good one), Christmas is just around the corner (I helped usher in the season by riding in the Nashville Christmas Parade last weekend), and a brand new year will soon be staring us in the face. That’s exciting, but I don’t see how a new year can possibly top this old one for me.
With my induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June, my receiving the Kris Kristofferson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nashville Songwriters Association in September, and the Honors Award from Nashville Association of Talent Directors in November, the year 2018 has set the bar awfully high. And I didn’t even mention the release of our new album, “Anderson” this year (coming soon in vinyl), nor our wacky, star-packed Christmas video, nor the 2018 Tunie Award from the Waffle House restaurant chain for being, as they called it, a “Jukebox Legend.”
2019 has got a tough act to follow! And I don’t say this to brag, but in true thankfulness to each of you who have helped make it all possible.
We’ve still got a few more days to enjoy in this year, though, including our final two concert dates on the 8th in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and the 9th in Highland Springs (Richmond), Virginia. I’ll be visiting with Eddie Stubbs (www.wsmonline.com) on his night time radio show on Dec. 5th from 8p.m. to midnight Central time, recording a duet with Jeannie Seely on the 12th, and singing one of my new songs, “The Only Bible,” on Country’s Family Reunion on the 21st and 22nd. We’ll be on the Opry December 15th, 21st, and 22nd, before taking time off to be with our families for Christmas.
And speaking of families, there’s never a dull moment in mine. My grandson, Blake, worked his way into the starting lineup of his high school varsity basketball team, scored 33-points in his first two games…then fractured a small bone in his wrist and has had to sit out all the games since. The doctors tell him he could be returning to the court before the holidays, but probably wearing a brace. (I think I overheard his coach humming, “If We Make It Through December”)!
Blake’s younger brother, Gabe, continues his battle with cancer, and a recent change in his chemotherapy appears promising. Thank you for continuing to keep him, and my friend, Vickie, in your thoughts and prayers. Vickie’s struggles are not getting any easier, so please don’t stop sending your positive vibes in her direction as well.
As always, I plan to spend Christmas at home with the ones I love the most. I hope it’s a great holiday season for you and yours, and may we all remember Whose birthday it is that we are celebrating on December 25th and why.
Thanks again for everything, and may God bless you each and every one.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
1) I recently watched a half-hour show on PBS called “The Songwriter,” which seemed fairly new, and featured you plugging your last book. It went very smoothly, and I wondered if the questions were submitted ahead of time. It seemed to be entirely spontaneous on your part.
No, there was nothing submitted ahead of time. And if someone had tried to tell me the questions beforehand, I would not have listened. The only true way to make something seem spontaneous is for it to BE spontaneous. I’m glad you enjoyed the show and hope you will be watching for other episodes. This is a very good series, sponsored in part by the Nashville Songwriters Association.
2) Did you ever write with Vern Gosdin? I have always loved his singing, and grew up not too far from his hometown.
No, I never got to write with Vern, but I was a big fan of his music. I’ve talked with others who did write with him, and they said he was a good writer and was fun to be around in a creative setting. I worked a few road shows with Vern, but never got to know him as well as I would have liked.
3) Jan Howard hasn’t been seen on the Opry in a couple of years. Is she still in good health? I’ve gone to her website and it’s years out of date. Can you please update?
I can’t speak to Jan’s health from a clinical perspective, but as an observer, I don’t think she is strong enough right now to go through the rigors of appearing onstage. I’ve been with her several times in group settings where we’d have dinner and laugh and tell old war stories, and her mind is very alert. However, she’s not as strong physically as she once was. We talk on the phone occasionally, and she can be just as “sassy” as ever…which I love. I know lots of you miss her performing on the Opry, and I do too. I’ll let her know you continue to ask about her.
How is Mike Johnson doing? I don’t hear any news on his battle with cancer.
Mike is doing well and is back appearing with Reba on her shows in Las Vegas. He plans to go on the CFR Cruise in January.
Have you written any songs with Terry McBride?
Yes, and he’s a great writer. We’ve just never gotten any of our collaborations recorded!
You have brought numerous artists to the spotlight. My question is who brought you to the spotlight?
No one person “discovered” me, but my help in the early days came from my first Nashville publisher, Buddy Killen, my record producer, Owen Bradley, and my first manager, Hubert Long.
Thanks for your questions, and keep ’em coming in the New Year. Send yours to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. Stay curious.
“Nothing like riding in a rain-soaked Nashville Christmas Parade with Miss Tennessee, to get you in the holiday spirit! Actually, the rain let up long enough for me to sing a verse and chorus of “Waffle House Christmas” for the TV cameras before it started pouring again. My favorite part, though, was the sign on the side of our float that read, “Bill Anderson – Miss Tennessee.” I hope the parade watchers knew that meant two different people! Below, Jamey Johnson and Mark Wills came to honor me at the NATD Awards. Mark sang the song I co-wrote for him called, “Wish You Were Here,” and Jamey said some very kind words and handed me my beautiful, engraved Honors trophy. Lastly, my 9-year old granddaughter, Sophie, and I have a tradition of celebrating our birthdays together, and this year was no exception. There’s a few years difference in our ages, but we have an equal amount of fun as you can tell from the smiles on our faces.”