For Bay Area troubadour Tim Hockenberry, 2012 was a pretty damn good year.  With a voice reminiscent of Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, and perhaps Tom Waits, Hockenberry had a loyal but somewhat underground following of fans who would come out to see him at the Great American Music Hall, the Rrazz Room, and a long list of Bay Area music festivals.

It took a lot of courage for the 51-year-old Mill Valley singer/pianist to enter himself in the America’s Got Talent television show contest, with celebrity judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel–but guess what?  As the season played out, Stern called Hockenberry one of the best singers he has ever heard, and Tim ended up coming in at fourth place. Not winning the show was actually a blessing in disguise, since Tim wouldn’t  be held contractually by the producers of America’s Got Talent, and he could have his career freedom again.

Fresh off the AGT stage, Tim was invited to sing the national anthem at Candlestick Park when the San Francisco 49ers took on the Chicago Bears in a sold-out Monday night football game. Always on the look-out for outstanding musical talent, the team’s Entertainment Director, Lorie Murphy, had followed Tim’s success on America’s Got Talent. And it didn’t take a mini-second for the long-time 49ers fan to say yes to performing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” before his favorite football team’s big nationally broadcast game.