Ask Sonny Anything… a bump on the head encore

We are running an encore edition of Sonny’s column this week – a second look at his very first contribution over a year ago.

Sonny wanted us to make plain that he isn’t ducking his commitment to answer your questions today. He took a fall earlier in the week and hit his head, resulting in a blinding headache and neck pain. His wife, Judy, says that after a visit to the ER, and a EKG and CAT scan, they found nothing damaged or broken. But he has been told to relax completely for several days and not tax his brain in the slightest – no reading, television, or even phone calls.

So we all wish Sonny a speedy recovery and a quick return to his normal life. Get well soon, Chief!

Sonny, would you mind sharing one of your favorite Opry memories with us?

– Alan K.

Two, to be exact. First time at the Opry, I was 14 years old and scared, and then I walked on the Ryman stage and I immediately knew what FRIGHT really is. I was standing beside Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, and Charlie Cline…a Blue Grass Boy…and Bill says we are going to play Rawhide. 

Second, Bob Eubanks and I were standing backstage the night President Nixon visited the Opry. I had met Nixon the year before at the White House so I didn’t want to go out on the stage. When The President came off stage he came right by us and he recognized me and walked right up and said “Osborne, from Kentucky,” and proceeded to shake hands and spoke a few things. After he left I remembered I was carrying a 38 revolver in a shoulder holster. I showed it to Eubanks and he called me every name profanity owns. We would probably still be in jail. 


Hey Sonny, how do I get Roland White to stop requesting his own songs on my radio show each week?

-Terry Herd

Deny knowledge of anyone named Roland, and tell him your name is actually Ralph Emery, and you only play Hillbilly music and “that Roland name ain’t no part of nothin’….”


What is the most memorable thing Bill Monroe ever said to you?

– Kip V.

“I loaned you that hat, now you go find it.” Paintsville, Kentucky. I left the hat he loaned me in a restaurant. Luckily I found it the next day – July 1952. I loved that old man, and he knew it.

DR O   


Dear Sonny, My wife and I have 5 lovely children and she’s insisting I get a vasectomy. Will that affect my banjo playing?

– Nervous in Nebraska

Yes…you will have problems executing the backward roll! But you’re not alone. Most banjo players don’t know whether they’re coming or going anyhow.


Hey Sonny, I wrote a hit song for a hit artist and the record label never paid me my royalties. What should I do?

– A Frustrated Songwriter 

Find the name of the publisher. Often the record company is not at fault. Every song has a publisher, the record company pays the publisher and the publisher takes his half and is supposed to then pay the writer. The record company is not at fault,…every time. You should have a contract with the publisher. That’s who you should contact. Ask for a record of sales, and the amount due the writer. Then mention The Better Business Bureau!     

See you next week!

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About the Author

Sonny Osborne

Surely among the most influential banjo players of all time, Sonny Osborne has dedicated his life to bluegrass music, and the five string banjo. For 50 years he toured with his brother, Bobby, as The Osborne Brothers and were one of the top acts in bluegrass and country music in the 1960s and '70s. He retired in 2005 but remains active in the banjo world with the manufacture and distribution of his Chief banjos.