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Steve Wariner Receives CRB 2018 Artist Achievement Award

Photo Credit: David McClister

Bill Anderson has been on Steve Wariner’s mind quite a bit lately. The singer – known for such hits as “What I Didn’t Do” and “Holes In The Floor Of Heaven” – was recently asked by Anderson to perform at the ceremony inducting ‘Whisperin’ Bill’ as a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in New York City. As it turns out, Wariner’s 1991 cover of Anderson’s “The Tips Of My Fingers” represented a pivotal shift in his songwriting career – ushering in an era where the Country Music Hall of Fame member added to his resume such hits as “Which Bridge To Cross (Which Bridge To Burn),” “Give It Away,” and “Whiskey Lullaby”

“I’ve heard Bill speak about that. He talked about that in his book, about how that song re-vitalized him and got him back into writing again. What an honor to know that I might have been a part of that. I didn’t realize that he never stepped away. What a great songwriting career. He’s done it for so long on such a high level. He inspired me to pitch songs that I didn’t cut. I was used to me cutting my songs, and I had a lot of success doing that. Bill urged me to do that, and lo and behold, that was a good idea.” One such hit for Wariner was Keith Urban’s cut on “Where The Blacktop Ends.”

And fortunately, it seems that “The Tips of My Fingers” is the song that doesn’t go away. Wariner got to participate in a recording session in 1998 that stands tall in his list of memories. I produced Bill’s Fine Wine album, and he had the idea to record ‘The Tips of My Fingers’ with the five people who had hit singles on it – Eddy, Roy, Jean, me, and Bill. I told him ‘We’ll probably never get all of these people together, and they all sing in different keys anyway. But, I came up with an arrangement where the stars lined up and the Good Lord was smiling. It worked out perfect. That was a special moment to be in the studio producing each of them. What an honor. That’s Country Music royalty, as far as I’m concerned.”

Speaking of Country Music royalty, Wariner got a chance to perform in a special place recently, and to pay tribute to his first boss. “Dottie West was such a great ambassador for Country artists,” he says of one of three new members of the Country Music Hall of Fame – whom he worked for as a teenager. “I did a show in Dottie’s hometown of McMinville, TN a little while back, and did a medley of some of her hits. I talked about her, and went to the cemetery and had a visit. It was right after it was announced she was going in to the Hall. It was a special day.”

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