Special shows Saturday at Llano Country Opry

The newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Whisperin’ Bill Anderson and the Po Folks Band will headline two special shows at the Llano Country Opry on Saturday, July 21. The afternoon show begins at 2 p.m. and the evening performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 each and are now on sale at the Llano Chamber of Commerce, Llano National Bank, Pleasingly Plus, Lantex Theater in Llano, Schooley Saddlery in Mason or KNEL radio station in Brady or by phoning (915) 247-5354. Nicknamed “Whisperin’ Bill” due to his soft voice, Anderson was born in Columbia, S.C. in 1937. Training initially to become a journalist, he obtained a bachelor of administration degree at the University of Georgia, singing and acting as a disc jockey in his spare time. In 1958, Ray Price heard Anderson singing his self-penned “City Lights” on a car radio. Price recorded the song and it immediately became a gold record’the first composition of many that Anderson would write. Many other country artists began recording Anderson’s songs including Jim Reeves, Hank Locklin, Porter Wagoner, Lefty Frizzell, George Jones, Connie Smith, Loretta Lynn, Steve Wariner, Brad Paisley, Mark Wills, Faron Young and Jean Shepard. Anderson signed with Decca Records and began making a name for himself as a singer. In 1962, his first major hit “Mama Sang A Song” climbed to the top of the charts followed by “Still” and “8×10.” Many other hits would follow including “I Get The Fever,” “Wild Weekend,” “Happy State of Mind,” “My Life,” “But You know That I Love You,” ” The Corner of My Life,” “Bright Lights and Country Music” and “Golden Guitar.” Anderson also recorded several duets including “For Loving You” with Jan Howard and “Sometimes” with Mary Lou Turner. In the 1960s, he was the star of the “Bill Anderson Television Show.” He appeared on the game show “The Better Sex” and was also host of the TNN show, “Fandango.” Anderson currently hosts “Backstage At the Grand Ole Opry” on TNN. Anderson joined the prestigious Grand Ole Opry show in June of 1961. He is celebrating his 40th year as a member of the Opry and is now considered one of the elder statesmen of the longest running radio show. The Llano Country Opry is hosting a special 40th anniversary dinner for Anderson at the American Legion Hall. “It has been a very long time since I have toured Texas,” Anderson said. “Tracy (Pitcox) kept after me until I finally agreed to come down. I have always loved Texas’what country music singer couldn’t love Texas’ My entire band is coming with me and we will have a superb show for everyone.” The Llano Country Opry Band will perform with guests Frankie Miller, Johnny Moore, Allison Crowson, Lori Gail, Bode Barker, Jennifer Lynn, Dianna Seymore, Justin Trevino, Kelsey Behrens, Jimmy Eaves, Don Ricketson, Larry Eoff, Melanie Reeves and Dora Lee Sewell. “We are delighted to have one of the greatest singers and songwriters in the country music business coming to our Llano Country Opry,” Llano Chamber of Commerce director Regina Eldridge said. “This could be the show of the year for us.”

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