Bill Anderson‘s life and musical legacy will be explored in a brand new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit, Bill Anderson: As Far as I Can See, which opens Friday Dec. 3 and runs through March 2023.
The exhibit will trace the Country Music Hall of Famer’s story from childhood to his days in Georgia, where he excelled as a baseball pitcher and sports writer while in high school and a DJ in college, through his contributions as one of the most decorated artists, songwriters and entertainers in history.
Among the highlights of the exhibit are:
– Anderson’s Rawlings leather glove used when he was a pitcher for Avondale High School’s baseball team, circa 1955.
– The Royal electric typewriter used in the 1960s by Anderson to type song lyrics and answer fan mail.
– Anderson’s 1958 Martin D-28 that he called his “second voice.” He used the guitar extensively on stage, in the studio, and to write songs, including “Still,” “The Tips of My Fingers,” “Po’ Folks” and “Once a Day.”
– Stage costumes worn by Anderson, including rhinestone-studded suits from the 1960s designed by S.A. Formann, a Buffalo, New York-based tailor, and Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors.
– Custom-made boots by L.M. Easterling Custom Boot Company, embellished with the initials “WBA”—for Whisperin’ Bill Anderson.
– A Manuel shirt, embellished with rhinestones and metallic embroidery, designed for Anderson in the 1990s.
– Anderson’s handwritten lyrics, with corrections, to “Give It Away.” Written with Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson in 2005, it yielded a No. 1 hit for George Strait.
“Bill Anderson not only fortified and evolved country music, but his remarkable body of work establishes him as one of the most prolific and preeminent American artists and songsmiths across all genres,” says Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “But it’s his natural curiosity, humanity and ability to forge true, emotional connections with audiences—both as a performer and songwriter—that constantly replenishes his relevance and endears him to so many today.”
Known as “Whisperin’ Bill” for his soft-spoken and conversational singing style, Anderson has placed 80 records on the Billboard charts as an artist, with his singles reaching country’s Top 20 more than 40 times. His songs have been recorded by Willie Nelson, Charley Pride, Connie Smith, George Strait, James Brown, Elvis Costello, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dean Martin, and many more. As a songwriter, he’s placed songs on the country charts in seven consecutive decades. Anderson also achieved popularity as an actor and game show host. He remains a mainstay performer on the Grand Ole Opry today, recently celebrating his 60th anniversary as a member on the historic radio show.
“I grew up dreaming of the day they’d put my ball glove into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, never dreaming that one day it would end up in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville,” says Anderson. “But now that old glove, along with some guitars, a few rhinestone suits and some scribbled song lyrics are on display in the Bill Anderson: As Far as I Can See exhibit in Music City. When the museum does an exhibit, they really do it up right, and I’m honored to know that I am now a small part of their incredible legacy. I’m not sure I could have ever seen this far.”
In support of the exhibit’s opening, the museum will host an interview and performance with Anderson, as well as a Songwriter Session with his collaborators, on Saturday, Dec. 4 in the museum’s Ford Theater. Tickets for both programs will be available on the museum’s website on Friday, Nov. 5, beginning at noon CT.
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