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Clint Black to perform in Beaver Creek Saturday night

Charlie Owen
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyGrammy Award willing country music star Clint Black comes to the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek Saturday night.
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BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Believe it or not, there was a time when Clint Black wasn’t a country music superstar.

At the age of 27 Black got signed to RCA and released his first album titled “Killin’ Time” ” four of the songs from that effort went straight to number one on the Billboard Hot Country chart. The album went triple platinum, won him a slew of awards and basically put him on the map as a full-fledged force.

But before all that, Black was just another singer/songwriter playing the honky-tonk club scene in Texas.



“I used to wonder if I was going about it the right way because I was working the clubs, living hand to mouth, and not only did I not have enough money to make a demo, I didn’t have the energy,” Black said.

Between his day job and playing as many nights as he could to gain recognition, Black said he would often feel tired and worn out, but through all of his days as a starving artist, he never once lost faith in his vision.

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“(There was) never a doubt that I would make it. I always believed in myself,” Black said. “I really believed that when I got the deal and started working on the record I really believed people would like the songs.”

Common man’s music

Those hard times are well behind him now. Since the release of “Killin’ Time,” Black has had over a dozen number one singles and a handful of platinum albums ” he even has a star on the Hollywood walk of fame for his television and movie roles. Black plays in Beaver Creek tonight and hopes to bring a little “real life” music with him.



Why does Black write so many songs about drinking and heartache?

“I think what country music comes down to, if you strip it of all the different styles …, is the lyrics and it’s poetry of the common man,” Black said. “And I think you’re going to find that the common man drinks a little, you know, has trouble with romance a little, and all those things that we all go through.”

He checks off the vanguard of country music greats when listing his inspirations ” Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker ” and cites Merle Haggard as one of the biggest musical influences throughout his career. Outside of country, Black digs acts like Loggins and Messina, Jimmy Buffett and Jim Croce.

“I gravitated to the songwriters and I think that’s why I drove myself so hard to write my own music,” Black said.

Eventually Black quit RCA to start his own label, Equity Music Group.

Still here, still relevant

During the past decade Black’s work hasn’t had the Midas touch it once did, but he continues to write the songs he wants to and stay true to his artistic vision.

But that doesn’t mean his extensive catalogue is any less appreciated by listeners today.

“It’s still played on Ski Country, it’s still requested. I would say that there isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t hear a request … it is still relevant and it is still there,” said radio personality Bob T, host of KSKE’s morning show. “Clint Black is a legend in the country world.”

A family man now, Black spends less time on the road and more time at his home in Nashville with his wife and daughter.

“The mantra was, you know, If I’m going to leave home it needs to matter,” Black said.

These days he can afford to be more picky with his career choices, something that Black relishes, but there’s still a hint of sadness in his voice when he talks about leaving his old road-warrior touring days behind ” just a hint.

“Now, having a family like we do, I have access to much deeper emotions just because I have so much more love in my life,” Black said.

That shouldn’t hurt his songwriting at all.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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