Truly country music’s sweetheart | VailDaily.com

Truly country music’s sweetheart

Kris Sabel

One might presume one of the best things about my job as executive director of the Vilar Performing Arts Center is meeting the artists that perform in our hall. In fact, truly the best part about my job is bringing such great talent to our community stage, and the reality is that due to schedules and all that goes into performance preparations, I often don't meet the artists or only get to say a brief welcome. Because my encounters can be infrequent or in passing, when I have one that is meaningful, I truly cherish it. One of these distinctive memories was meeting Pam Tillis here a few summers ago.

She is one of the most kind and genuine people I've come in contact with. She beamed about our hall, our VPAC team and her experience with us. After her first performance here, she was quick to let me know that she couldn't wait to come back to Beaver Creek. You may have noticed, we've been endorsing Pam as "Country Music's Sweetheart." Why? Because that is exactly what she is — a real sweetheart.

Country music trailblazer

Not only is she a sweetheart, but Pam is country music royalty and the daughter of the great Mel Tillis. As if that isn't enough, she is also a country music trailblazer. Pam pushed country music boundaries by incorporating blues, jazz, pop and folk influences while also sprinkling in some honky-tonk and humor to the mix.

Although she was the daughter of a famous country singer, Pam still chose her own route — writing and performing her own music, as well as writing numerous hits for others. It wasn't until 1991 that she hit the country charts with "Don't Tell Me What To Do." That hit song was included in her album "Put Yourself In My Place" and included two other top 10 hits — "One of Those Things" and "Maybe It Was Memphis."

Her next album, "Homeward Looking Angel," catapulted Pam into country music stardom with a number of hits including "Shake the Sugar Tree," "Let that Pony Run," "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial" and more. In 1994, Pam was deservedly named Top Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association.

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Pam's career has continued to flourish over the past two decades. She's performed to sold-out venues across the country and charted several more hits, including "Spilled Perfume," "Deep Down," "The River and the Highway" and, one of my personal favorites, "My Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)."

Don't miss it

No fan of music should miss this show. Vince Gill, who performed at the VPAC on July 25, echoed my sentiment during his performance, telling a sold-out house that audience members "shouldn't miss the chance to see fellow Grand Ole Opry member, Pam Tillis, here on this same stage."

I could go on about Pam's impressive career as a singer, songwriter and performer. But I prefer to take the last bit of space in this column to let you know that in addition to her career highlights, Pam truly is a wonderful person with an engaging personality and an unforgettable stage presence.

I can't wait to watch her perform with her band and hear their incredible sound tonight.

Kris Sabel is the executive director of the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.