by Josh Belcher, Freelance Writer
On August 7th, the Williamson County Fair will host Grand Ole Country Night at 6:30 pm—a night of pure entertainment from artists who have paved the way to make country music what it is today.
This year’s line-up includes comedian Nadiene (from Larry’s Country Diner), classic country duo Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius and “Whispering” Bill Anderson.
Country Music Hall of Fame member,Bill Anderson, has been a mainstay in country music and one of it’s most beloved artists for well over 50 years. He is known around the world as “Whispering Bill,” a nickname he got as a result of his breathy voice and warm, gentle approach to singing. He is also one of the genre’s most celebrated songwriters. He wrote his first smash hit, “City Lights” for Ray Price at the tender age of 19.
He co-wrote 2006’s “Give It Away” with Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson.”Give It Away” was recorded by George Strait, won the coveted CMA Song of the Year Award, and nominated for a Grammy.
Although Anderson has written dozens of songs, his most recognizable song he ever penned was 2004’s hit “Whiskey Lullaby,” which also won the CMA Song of the Year Award and was recorded by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss.
Bill has been voted Songwriter Of The Year six times, Male Vocalist of the Year, and he is a member of The Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. He is known for hosting the extremely popular RFDTV television series Country’s Family Reunion, a show where legendary country stars gather with industry new comers to share their personal stories and sing songs from their respective catalogs.
Fair attendees will get an intimate glimpse of these performances at this year’s fair. For more information visit: www.williamsoncountyfair.org
“Whispering'” Bill will bring a truck load of #1 hits that he has written for himself as well as other artists.
We had the opportunity to ask “Whispering” Bill Anderson a few questions:
WS: How do you feel about playing this years Williamson County Fair?
Bill: We had a great time when we played there a few years ago, and I’m very much looking forward to coming back.
WS: Do you reside in Williamson county?
Bill: No, I actually live in Wilson county. But they have never invited me to play at their fair!
WS: Tell us about your new album Life!
Bill: Life! is a collection of songs that I feel are truly reflective of the human condition in virtually all of its intricacies, therefore the title. The songs are everything from humorous on the one end (“Bubba Garcia’s”) to staunchly patriotic on the other (“Old Army Hat”). It’s love in bloom (“When You Love Me”) and love teetering on its edge (“Blackberry Winter”). It’s about endurance (“Rhinestone Grindstone”), wistfulness (“In Another Life.”), and just plain silliness (“Whisper”). I’ve got some great guests on the record including Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, John Anderson (no kin!), Joey & Rory, and Dailey & Vincent. And it’s available on iTunes, Amazon, and at billanderson.com. Now aren’t you sorry you asked?
WS: Do you have any new songs cut by other artists currently?
Bill: Yes, I’ve had several cut, but until they are definitely scheduled for release, I probably shouldn’t talk about them. I’m not into the “bro-country” phase that our music is going through, so my newer cuts have mostly been by the more traditional or bluegrass artists. Those include Jim Ed Brown, The Roys, Del McCoury, Dailey & Vincent, Mo Pitney, and others.
WS: You have been pursuing music since you were 19-years-old, do you still love it as much as you did back then?
WS: What is one thing you have on your list that you still want to accomplish in music?
Bill: I have had at least one of my songs on the charts in each of six consecutive decades now, starting with “City Lights” in the late 50s. I’d like to have one more chart hit between now and 2020 and turn that six into a seven.
WS: For some younger music fans who may not know, how did you get the nickname “Whispering” Bill Anderson?
Bill: I naturally have a soft voice, but a comedian on my syndicated TV show back in the 60s, Don Bowman, actually hung the nickname on me. It bothered me at first, but I’ve come to realize over the years that Bill Anderson is a very common name. There are probably a dozen Bill or William Anderson’s in Williamson county alone, but none of them can lay claim to being “Whispering” Bill. It has enabled me to have a unique name without me having to change it to Conway Twitty!
Photo’s courtesy of Dennis Carney