Go and do
WHO: country singer Pam Tillis in concert
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, June 19; doors open at 6 p.m.
WHERE: Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield
MORE INFO: call 1-866-227-6523 or go to www.stonemountainartscenter.com

Pam Tillis to play Maine woods
Grand Ole Opry inductee will try out new music in Brownfield
By Daniel Hartill
Staff Writer
BROWNFIELD — When she takes the intimate 21-inch-high stage of the Stone Mountain Arts Center on June 19, country singer Pam Tillis plans to strip down.
Gone will be the big entourage, lights and sound of her springtime tour of Ireland, Wales and England. Instead, she’ll have only her band and her songs.
“I’ll be fully clothed, but the songs will be naked,” Tillis said. “What we will be bringing is some fresh insight into the music and some stories.”
The stories come from a lengthy career that broke through in the ’90s with hits like “Maybe it was Memphis,” “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial” and “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life).” In 1994, the County Music Association named her female vocalist of the year. Six years later, the daughter of country music’s Mel Tillis was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
Since then, Tillis, 52, has had few chart-toppers. But she still performs about 90 times a year.
“The people I admire didn’t quit when they weren’t on the radio all the time,” Tillis said Monday in a phone interview from her Nashville home. “Where would we be if Dolly Parton or Willie Nelson said, ‘I’ve made enough money.’? They keep on giving.”
This week, she is part of the Nashville royalty performing at a weeklong festival in the music hub. It’s called “Fan Fest.”
“I will keep on giving until my heart says it’s time to move on,” Tillis said.
It’s what keeps her on the road, including the 32-day United Kingdom tour.
“It was my first time over there,” she said of the trip, which concluded on April 29. “I felt like I got re-inspired. It was a real good trip for me.”
One change: a focus on classic country over today’s country-pop sounds.
“I was able to go into a different part of my catalog,” she said. “They really love more traditional and older type of music.”
The change has colored her concerts ever since.
“It keeps it fresh,” she said. “If you go off on a different tangent, you always bring something back to what you’re doing.”
She also enjoyed the folks. The Irish were “friendly, really down-home.”
The English affection and politeness made her smile.
“After every show, they’d say, ‘Oh Pam. That was brilliant,’” she said. “I’d say, ‘Wow, that’s the first time I’ve ever been called that.’”
Her trip to Maine will mean a lesser shift for the Southerner.
“I’m a person that feels comfortable in the country,” she said. “I like green and you guys are green.”
Her Maine stop has plenty of country. The Stone Mountain Arts Center is a small, 200-seat room in a remodeled barn. It is gorgeous, rustic and so intimate that performers are sometimes little more than an arm’s length from the audience.
“Don’t tell my manager, but I really like that.” Tillis joked. “You make your big money in the festivals, the outdoor venues and the big rooms.”
“It’s just easier to play in the small ones,” she said. “I feel at home there.”
And in the modern age, even a small audience can blossom with big word-of-mouth.
“If you come to the show, you won’t just get the ’90s rehashed,” she said. “We’ll be trying out some brand new things.”
Tillis, who started her own record label, Stellar Cat Records, in 2007, will be watching the Internet for reaction.
“We live in a time when if something happens, 1 million people can know about it in 15 seconds,” she said. “You don’t really have to be on a big label to get your music out.”
Getting on the radio is trickier.
“Is it nice to have a million-dollar marketing budget? Yup,” she said. “Do we have that? Nope.”

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