And welcome to our first newsletter of the new decade!
I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you know how much I appreciated all the beautiful Christmas cards and messages that you sent. I hope, too, that you’re as excited about moving into a new year as I am. Lots of exciting things are on the horizon.
Christmas in Whisperville was a bit unorthodox this year (and not just the unseasonably warm weather), but it was enjoyable just the same. Both me and my son-in-law, Grant, had just come through medical procedures that produced some unforeseen complications; my grandson, Gabe, had just been released from the hospital; granddaughter, Greta, was down with the flu, and I was afraid Santa might decide to pass us all by. Thankfully, he didn’t. I was able to go to Christmas Eve church services with the family, and spend Christmas Day with friends. Everybody was up and hitting on all cylinders by New Year’s (other than my daughter, Terri, who had a short hospital stay), and looking forward to all that lies ahead.
I’ll be starting off the new year with a 4-show trip to Texas, a bit unusual for this time of year. I hope we’ll see lots of our friends and make a bunch of new ones as we visit Kenney on January 8th, New Braunfels on the 9th, Victoria on the 10th, and wrap things up in Kerrville on the 12th. Here’s hoping for good weather. Texas is a lot like Tennessee this time of year in that the elements can be extremely unpredictable.
We’re off to Hinton, Oklahoma, on January 18th, and then set sail on our Country’s Family Reunion cruise to the Caribbean on January 26th.
Did I tell you there will be two CFR cruises in 2020? The second will be in December, and I’m sure it will have a bit of a Christmas theme. That should be fun, and I hope some of you will consider giving yourselves an early present and come sail away with us. You can get the details by calling 800-820-5405.
I plan to get back into the recording studio on the 23rd of this month and again in February and March. I have some new songs I want to put down, in particular the song we have been opening our road shows with for the past few months, “It’s A Good Day (To Have A Good Day).” Many of you have been asking for it which I appreciate. I’m going to take James, Ziggy, Kenzie, and Cotton into the studio with me and try to capture the “live” feeling of the song just like we do it on stage. I’ve been writing some other new songs as well, both by myself and with some great co-writers, and I may try out a few of those while I’m in a recording mood. Wish us luck.
Of course, the “biggie” in my life for 2020 will be the opening of the Bill Anderson Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in November. I’ll be keeping you posted as we begin collecting things and deciding what to include in the exhibit. Putting everything together is going to take a lot of work, I’m sure, but hopefully it will be rewarding as well. I’m still pinching myself over the news that it’s actually going to happen!
There will be a slight change in our Po’ Folks Band this year as Pat Severs, who has played steel guitar with us on the Opry for the past ten years, has decided to retire and move his family back to his home state of South Carolina. Pat has been a valuable member of our family, and we wish him nothing but the best. Eddie Lange and Donna (Hammitt) Blanton, both of whom have worked with us in the past, have promised to help pick up the slack.
On the personal front I have an exciting piece of news: My oldest granddaughter, Rae, came home for the holidays sporting a beautiful engagement ring!The lucky guy is Zach Kunde, whom she met in Chicago. They haven’t set a date, but I’ll keep you posted.
I’d better stop for now and get ready to go to grandson Blake’s high school basketball game. His team has an 11-3 record so far and they’ve been a lot of fun to watch. I’m awfully proud of Blake and the improvements he has made in his game.
Have a good January wherever you are…stay warm…and we’ll see you back here again next month. Thanks for everything….
I was extremely saddened by the news of Mac Wiseman’s passing over the weekend. My relationship with him went all the way back into the late fifties when he was an executive with Dot Records and called me at WJJC in Commerce wanting to buy my master recording of “City Lights” for his label. When I told him Ray Price had just covered it for Columbia Records, he laughed and said, “Well, never mind!” I worked with Mac when he ran the Wheeling Jamboree, toured with him on many occasions, and welcomed him several times to the circle on Country’s Family Reunion. He probably knew more songs than anyone in country music, and he loved to share them with his friends. He was truly a gentleman in every sense of the word. We’ll miss you, Mac. Thanks for blessing us with your music…and for allowing me to be a small part of your world.