The Llano Country Opry will host two special shows on Saturday, June 14, at the Lantex Theater in downtown Llano. Country Music Hall of Famer and longtime Grand Ole Opry Star Bill Anderson will headline with his Po Folks Band. The shows will be at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and admission is $15.00 per person. Tickets are on sale at the Llano and Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, Llano National Bank, KNEL Radio or by calling 325-247-5354.
Bill Anderson was born in Columbia, South Carolina, but spent most of his growing-up years around Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, having worked his way through college as a disc jockey on nearby radio stations. At the age of nineteen he composed the country classic, “City Lights,” and began rapidly carving his place in musical history.
He moved to Nashville, Tennessee, secured a recording contract with Decca Records, and began turning out hit after hit with songs like “Po’Folks,” “Mama Sang A Song,” “The Tips Of My Fingers,” “8X10,” and the unforgettable country and pop smash, “Still.” His compositions were recorded by such diverse musical talents as Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, James Brown, Debbie Reynolds, Ivory Joe Hunter, Kitty Wells, Faron Young, Lawrence Welk, Dean Martin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Walter Brennan and many others.
Bill has been voted Songwriter Of The Year six times, Male Vocalist Of The Year, half of the Duet Of The Year with both Jan Howard and Mary Lou Turner, has hosted and starred in the Country Music Television Series Of The Year, seen his band voted Band Of The Year, and in 1975 was voted membership in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Ten years later, the State of Georgia honored him by choosing him as only the 7th living performer inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was made a member of the Georgia Broadcasters’ Hall of Fame. In 1994, South Carolina inducted him into their Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame. And in 2001, he received the ultimate honor, membership in Nashville’s prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.
An entertainer in every sense of the word, Bill Anderson was the first country artist to host a network game show, starring on ABC-TV’s, “The Better Sex.” He also appeared for three years on ABC’s Daytime soap opera, “One Life To Live.”
For six years he hosted a country music game show on The Nashville Network called, “Fandango,” later an interview show called “Opry Backstage,” and somehow found time to be co-producer of another TNN Show called, “You Can Be A Star.” In addition, Bill has appeared frequently as a guest star on television’s top variety and game shows, including The Tonight Show, The Today Show, Match Game, Family Feud, Hee Haw and others. He currently hosts “Bill Anderson Visits With The Legends” on XM satellite radio.
Bill Anderson’s autobiography, “Whisperin’ Bill,” was published by Longstreet Press in 1989 and relates the fascinating details of his life and lengthy career in show business. The book, which Bill personally wrote over a period of three years, made bestseller lists all across the south. Bill’s second book, a humorous look at the music business titled, “I Hope You’re Living As High On The Hog As The Pig You Turned Out To Be,” was published in 1993 and is currently in it’s fourth printing.
Bill Anderson has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1961 and performs there regularly. He continues to record, his latest album, “Whispering Bluegrass,” has been released with an accompanying DVD. The package contains sixteen acoustical performances divided equally between secular songs and gospel favorites. Guests appearing on the project include Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, and Willie Nelson.
In 1995, Billboard magazine named four Bill Anderson compositions – “City Lights,” “Once A Day,” “Still,” and “Mama Sang A Song” – among the Top 20 Country Songs of the past 35-years. No other songwriter had as many songs listed.
Anderson closed out the 20th century with a pair of #1 hits, “Wish You Were Here,” by Mark Wills and the Grammy nominated “Two Teardrops” by Steve Wariner. His song, “Too Country,” recorded by Brad Paisley along with Anderson, Buck Owens and George Jones, won CMA Vocal Event Of The Year honors for 2001. The following year saw Kenny Chesney soar with his version of the Anderson-Dean Dillon masterpiece, “A Lot Of Things Different.”
But in a period of twenty-five months between November, 2005, and December, 2007, Anderson enjoyed perhaps the most fertile period of his songwriting life. He won CMA Song of the Year honors for his and Jon Randall’s poignant ballad, “Whiskey Lullaby,” recorded by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, a Dove Award from the Gospel Music Association for co-writing with Tia Sillers the Country/Gospel Recorded Song of the Year, “Jonah, Job, and Moses,” sung by the Oak Ridge Boys, and his first ACM Song of the Year Award for “Give It Away,” recorded by George Strait and written with Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson. “Give It Away” went on to win the CMA Song of the Year as well as affording Anderson his fourth Grammy nomination.
In 2002, Broadcast Music, Inc. named Anderson its first country music songwriting Icon, placing him alongside R&B legends Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and James Brown as the only recipients of that prestigious award.
“This will be my second appearance at the Llano Country Opry” Anderson said from his Nashville office. “It has been about five years and we are really looking forward to the shows. We do not get the opportunity to work in Texas very often.”
Country Music Association of Texas Hall of Famer Frankie Miller will join Anderson at the Llano Country Opry. The first major tour that Anderson was a part of was headlined by Miller. Miller enjoyed great success in the 1960’s after penning and recording “Blackland Farmer.” That song would become a Grammy award winning song and become one of the biggest records in the history of Starday Records. Miller would then add other standards including “Baby Rocked Her Dolly” “Family Man” “Family Reunion” and “A Little South of Memphis.”
Miller has released two projects for Heart of Texas Records. His first studio solo studio album in over ten years, “Family Man” gained him much praise and rave reviews from all over the country. His latest release is a collection of live tracks from Miller’s Louisiana Hayride Days titled “Live At The Louisiana Hayride.”
Opry favorite Mark Lee will be enjoying an album release party at the opry with his debut project. The album contains a duet with Leona Williams on the Freddie Hart song “Legally.”
Other entertainers will include Rance Norton, Kimberly Murray, Justin Trevino, Lonnie Atkinson, Tony Pickens, Don Ricketson and Shane Lively. Tracy Pitcox will MC the show.
For more information about the Llano or Mason Country Opry, log on to www.heartoftexascountry.com.