June 13th, 2024

Clint Black ready to kill some time with city fans


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on June 8, 2024.

Associated Press file photo - Clint Black is seen performing in 2015, in Arlington, Texas. The country superstar hits the Enmax Centre stage on June 19 as part of his 2024 world tour.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Country superstar Clint Black is going to be “Killin’ Time” with some of his biggest fans in southern Alberta when he hits the Enmax stage on June 19.

Black is bringing his 2024 world tour to Canada with stops in numerous venues, many of them smaller such as Strathmore, Moose Jaw, Dawson Creek and Dauphin.

The tour marks the 35th anniversary of his debut album “Killin’ Time” which announced Black to the country music world in a big way.

The namesake lead track was recently ranked 144 on Rolling Stone’s top 200 country music songs of all time, the magazine calling it “old-school honky-tonk melodrama, written by Black with longtime collaborator Hayden Nicholas. He sings about drowning his sorrows on the barroom floor, in a boozily existential showdown with death.”

That tune was the 1989’s second biggest country hit – No. 1 was another Black tune called “A Better Man.”

The triple-platinum selling album, which was released in 1989, soared to the top of the Billboard charts, earning Black the No. 1 Billboard country song in both 1989 and 1990 for the songs “A Better Man” and “Nobody’s Home,” respectively. The last time for an artist to achieve that feat was Hank Williams 35 years before that that with his classics “Kaw-Liga” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”

To celebrate the milestone and the tour, a special vinyl re-issue of “Killin’ Time” has been released.

In 2022, Rolling Stone ranked “Killin’ Time” as No. 31 on its list of the Top 100 country albums, calling it “one of the finest debut albums in in country history.”

Black recently took the time to answer a few questions via email for The Herald before his show here”

1) Your song Killin Time recently made Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 200 best country songs at No. 144. Clearly that album had an impact that still carries on to this day – as evidenced by your 35th anniversary tour. What do you attribute that to?

“I’ve always been a country fan and thought I knew a good song when I heard one. When I started writing songs, I thought I knew when they were good or very good. No one can know how people will take to them though,” wrote Black.

“I’ve been told many times, ‘that album was part of the sound track to my high school years!”, or something to that effect. It’s just a group of songs that stuck with people.”

2) You’re doing a vinyl reissue of “Killin’ Time.” You, like the rest of us who are now in our 60s, grew up with vinyl records and also lived – for better or worse – through the cassette and eight-track years which were in a lot of pickups in the 70s as I remember well. What makes vinyl so special in your eyes?

“There’s a warmth to vinyl. The amount of data embedded in vinyl is great than that of a CD. There’s no denigration, other than the pops and hisses from a well worn album. Plus, the artwork and liner notes are huge compared to today’s mediums,” he said.

3) After so many decades on the road, you’re still hitting venues small and large alike across the U.S. and here in Canada where you have legions of fans. And some of those venues like your upcoming shows in towns like Strathmore and Dauphin are pretty small. But rural audiences have long supported your career. Do you make a special point of getting to the places where the fans are? And how much does that mean to them to see their favourite artist coming to them instead of the other way around, do you think?

“I play anywhere I can, with the exception of places that will make my band and crew miserable. Each venue is our home for the day, so it matters whether or not it’s going to be comfortable. From there, it’s a matter of whether or not people will show up. That’s the draw for us. People make the show!”

4) Country music – like other genres – has always been evolving as new artists emerge and the fan base changes. You’ve said – actually on your web page that you try to make records that don’t fit into a trend. How important is that in this day and age when so many more people are listening to individual songs on streaming services than perhaps taking the time to really savour an album and all its nuances?

“It’s very important to me,” responded Black.

“A great band playing – at least good song s- without trendy mixes could stand a chance of being just as good on the ears 50 years from now. A few things may come along with a trend that might appeal to me and I may adopt them into my musical lexicon, but there won’t be a lot to come out of a trend that holds from one generation to the next.”

5)What keeps you motivated after all these years to keep reaching out to your fans and performing? Have you been writing new songs and can audiences expect to hear some new tunes at the show?

“The one new song we’ve been doing is full of praise for my country, so I probably won’t do that on the Canadian leg of the tour! But I have been writing some and will make a new album in the next year or so. I need to do that every four to five years,” Black said.

“As far as touring, I do it year in, year out. I still love it and have a great touring family. I would lose that if I stopped. I believe the fans might forget about us too. Some of them are bringing their kids to the shows and introducing our live shows to each subsequent generation. We love that and wouldn’t get to enjoy it if we stayed home.”

6) Lastly, I’m asking for a country radio morning show host pal of mine named Bill Toffan at KX947 out in Hamilton, Ontario who I was talking to about your upcoming show here – he’s curious what you think of the new music by Beyonce. Country or commercializing?

“I haven’t heard much, other than a clip or two online. I’m never surprised when someone outside country wants to make a country album. My only hope is that they respect the traditions and values of a genre that plays to all ages. I’m not a fan of country music that crosses the line of decent language and all-ages-appropriate themes,” he wrote.

After “Killin’ Time,” Black continued taking country music by storm with numerous gold and platinum albums. He has written or co-written all of his hits – more than three dozen in total – and has sold more than 20 million albums.

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