Country music legend Clint Black still growing artistically
Here’s the good news from multi-award-winning country legend Clint Black:
“I’m still growing artistically. As a guitarist, producer, lyricist, I’m enjoying the creative process and performing because I’m bringing new skills to the game,” says Black as he prepares to headline a Dec. 13 Christmas and hits show at The Palace Theatre in Greensburg.
It’s more fun to perform live now, he says, “because I’m playing more guitar solos than I could’ve played even 10 years ago.”
It’s the same thing with producing and writing, he assures: “I love it more than ever.”
Fans should be happy to know that the artist, although he probably easily could, is not resting on his proverbial laurels.
Black has written, recorded and released more than 100 songs. One-third of those songs eligible for major single release also achieved hit song status on country radio, while more than 20 million of his albums have been sold worldwide.
Shift in country music
It’s said that the 1989 debut of his critically acclaimed fan favorite, the triple-platinum “Killin’ Time” album, marked a shift in the country music industry, with a return to the more traditional sounds of the genre.
“Killin’ Time” yielded five No. 1 hits, unprecedented, it is reported, from a debut album in any genre.
Country Music Television lists the album as one of the 100 Greatest Albums in country music.
Black has had nearly two dozen No. 1 hit singles, and almost as many Top 5 and Top 10 hits, all of them his original compositions, which is itself said to be a notable rarity in popular music.
“I’ve been told there are many reasons for people loving my songs. I think it’s for the individual to decide,” Black says. “I’ve always wanted to entertain, but also give people something to think about in my lyrics. I want them to discover the layers of meaning in the songs.
“Of course, there are obvious meanings on the surface, but there are also alternative meanings.”
‘A great privilege’
Music, he says, is many things.
“It’s a deep tissue massage of the brain, at the very least,” he suggests. “It soothes and inspires. Life would be dreary without it.”
But for him, playing that music live for him is not just about the songs.
“It’s about interacting with an audience. That’s a great privilege,” Black assures.
He says his Greensburg show will be “a little bit of Christmas and a lot of hits.
“We always have fun with our audiences, especially in these intimate venues,” he says. “These are (holiday) songs I’ve written over the years and I only have the holiday season to revisit them on stage. They are close to my heart and fun to play and sing.”
It is easy for him to keep it fresh for himself.
“My Christmas songs are all original. I’ve written each of them with the goal of covering all of the styles of Christmas songs I’ve grown up with,” he explains. ”Some are children’s songs, some romantic, others are orchestral ballads about the birth of Jesus. But they’re all mine, so they’re still fresh for me.”
Does he consider himself a “Christmas person”? Does he enjoy the holiday?
“I’ve learned over the years how to enjoy the holidays, what’s most important and what I want to focus on,” he replies.
Apart from a heavy touring schedule, he challenges himself in other ways. He is currently developing a Broadway production based on the life of his friend Roy Rogers.
“I (also) have new music lined up for release and a couple of new things to go with the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of ’Killin’ Time.’ I’m not sure how and when those come out but I can’t wait to share them with my fans,” he says.
Black says he is “pretty deep into my bucket list” of things he has not accomplished but still wants to attempt.
“If there’s more, that will be the icing on a fantastic cake that is my life. I count my blessings and just keep working hard,” he says.
“The fruits of those labors have not failed to bring wonderful things into my life.”
Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.