Country music star “Whisperin’ Bill” Anderson will return to Athens Sept. 7 to perform specially selected songs and read from his autobiography, now out from the University of Georgia Press.
Known as “Whisperin’ Bill” to generations of fans for his soft vocalizations and spoken lyrics, Anderson is the only songwriter in country music history to have a song on the charts in each of the past seven decades. A UGA graduate and member of the Grand Ole Opry, Anderson will be at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries for the event, which begins at 4 p.m. It is open free to the public and a reception will follow, giving visitors an opportunity to see an exhibit drawn from Anderson’s collection of memorabilia. Reservations are requested by Aug. 31 to Leandra Nessel at email@example.com or 706-542-3879.
Whisperin’ Bill: An Unprecedented Life in Country Music is a revealing portrait of Anderson, one of the most prolific songwriters in the history of country music. Mega country music hits like “City Lights” (Ray Price); “Tips Of My Fingers” (Roy Clark, Eddy Arnold, Steve Wariner); “Once A Day” (Connie Smith); “Saginaw, Michigan” (Lefty Frizzell) and many more flowed from his pen, making him one of the most decorated songwriters in music history.
But the iconic singer, songwriter, performer and TV host came to a point in his career where he questioned if what he had to say mattered anymore—little did he know, his most rewarding climb lie ahead. A follow-up to his 1989 autobiography, this book tells the story of a man with an unprecedented gift, holding on to it in order to share it. A product of a long-gone Nashville, Anderson worked to reinvent himself, and this biography documents his 50-plus-year career, a career he once thought unattainable.
With 80 charting singles and 37 Top 10 country hits, Anderson is a six-time Song of the Year Award winner and BMI Icon Award recipient, has taken home many CMA and ACM Award trophies, and garnered multiple Grammy nominations.
Whisperin’ Bill is illustrated with black-and-white photos of Anderson interacting with the superstars of American music, including such legends as Patsy Cline, Vince Gill and Steve Wariner. The book highlights Anderson’s trajectory in the business and his influence on the past, present and future of this genre.
“Bill has written so many wonderful songs and is a major force in country music, not only as a writer, but as an entertainer, a singer and a host,” said his friend Dolly Parton. “It would be impossible really to measure his worth in this industry, but it’s big.”
The tourism office of the Georgia Department of Economic Development has declared 2016 the Year of Georgia Music to celebrate the state’s music heritage through attractions, exhibitions and tribute events. As repository for the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the UGA special collections libraries will have an exhibit highlighting Athens music and “Whisperin’ Bill.” Items from Anderson’s collection on display in the gallery of the Brown Media Archives and Peabody Collections will include one of his “Nudie Suits,” a guitar, boots, sheet music and a poster.
“This honest and revealing book, written with acclaimed music journalist Peter Cooper, recounts the 50-year career of singer-songwriter (and Georgia native) Bill Anderson,” said Lisa Bayer, director of the UGA Press. “In turn, the book presents an insider’s history of classic Nashville and introduces readers to the famous and fascinating characters who helped build what is now known as Music City.”