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Decades later, Anderson gets his guitar back

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 – What goes around comes around - at least if you're Bill Anderson's decades-long missing guitar.

Anderson, Vicky McGehee and Jamey Johnson co-wrote "The Guitar Song," eight years ago, about a fictional guitar that hung unwanted and tattered in an old pawn shop. The guitar held so many stories of its past and became the title track of Johnson's fourth album.

Last Saturday at the Grand Ole Opry, the Grammer guitar given to Anderson personally by Billy Grammer 50 years ago was returned.

Four weeks ago, Anderson's secretary received an email from Mike Grauer, the owner of Bell Road Pawn in Phoenix. He said that one of the shop's customers had pawned an old guitar which had the words, "This guitar belongs to Bill Anderson," in the sound hole.

Familiar with the 50-year Grand Ole Opry member and his long list of self-penned top country hits like "Whiskey Lullaby" (Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss) "A Lot Of Things Different" (Kenny Chesney), "Give It Away" (George Strait), Grauer searched the Internet and was shocked when he found an old video on YouTube of Anderson playing an identical Grammer guitar on The Johnny Cash Show. Grauer sent pictures of the relic, and upon investigation, Anderson and his team were able to confirm its authenticity.

"I thought, okay, here it comes, he's going to want $25,000 for me to get it back," Anderson joked. When Andereson asked Grauer what he would take for the special timepiece, he replied that he and his wife had always wanted to witness the Grand Ole Opry, but they'd never had the chance.

"Before he changed his mind," Anderson recalled, he booked two tickets to Nashville and arranged for them to experience The Grand Ole Opry backstage. As Grauer and his wife, Wendie, celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary, Anderson introduced them on-stage to a captive audience, telling the story of his long-lost guitar that had now found its way home.

Anderson said, his voice breaking, "Mike, you and Wendie just have no idea... you have no idea, what this means to me. I don't think I ever played this guitar in the Opry House because we didn't come here until 1972, but I played it many times at the Ryman. It's so special to have it back. Thank you so much. I wish you a wonderful anniversary." Laughing, he added, "It may be your anniversary, but I got the present,"

Anderson surprised the audience with a surprise appearance by Johnson, and the two performed "The Guitar Song."

Anderson closed the special performance saying, "Thank you to Mike, Wendie and Jamey, and thank you to Billy Grammer. May you rest in peace, my friend."

"Your old guitar will be well taken care of... I promise I'll never lose it again."

More news for Bill Anderson

CD reviews for Bill Anderson

Whisperin' Bluegrass CD review - Whisperin' Bluegrass
After over 40 years in country music, Bill Anderson reaches back to his roots as a South Carolina kid and applies his whisperin' style to bluegrass. He paints the picture in "I've Got a Thing About a Five String," one of three new songs on the project. Anderson includes two other new songs, "My Perfect Reason" and "Everything I Want (And Not a Thing I Need)" and draws several more from his deep catalog of songs often made famous by other artists such as »»»
The Way I Feel CD review - The Way I Feel
Though Whisperin' Bill Anderson had an impressive run of hits in the 1960s, lately he has been best known as a songwriter, penning hits for Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley. Anderson's own version of "Whiskey Lullaby," Paisley's hit duet with Alison Krauss, is included here, though Anderson's delivery isn't quite as haunting without Krauss' accompaniment. Anderson has earned another lease on his creative life mostly through writing with younger artists, and he continues that trend here with, "Cold »»»
A Lot Of Things Different
With his well-deserved induction into Country Music's Hall of Fame, Bill Anderson's profile is on the rise. So this disc, self-released last year, finally gets into stores. Anderson remains a vital songwriter, and two of this album's new songs have already received major covers ("Too Country" by Brad Paisley, and the title track by Kenny Chesney). The opening "Love Is A Fragile Thing" is an even more likely hit. Also on board are a couple of his old songs, including "When Two Worlds Collide," »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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