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Q & A

Q and A: Inside Country Music

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Q. In what ways, if any, does audience reaction influence any given performance?
A. The audience reaction always influences my performance. If the audience is really with me, I get more into them. It is a two-way street, but it is my job to get them with me.

Q. Who is an entertainer you admire?
A. I admire so many artists, past and present. George Jones, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Alan Jackson. I like traditional country music.

Q. What's an unusual fan situation you've experienced?
A. I guess one night in Portland, Oregon, when a woman came into the nightclub I was appearing at and got on the dance floor and she was wearing a full length coat, which she promptly took off, revealing nothing on underneath. Written in lipstick several times on her body was, “I love Jerry Hill!” The band kept playing but I stopped singing.

Q. Regarding language differences: What problems are there, if any, when performing in other countries?
A. As you know, I just got back from a three-week tour of Europe, playing The Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark. I found that most people in those countries speak English too. English seems to be becoming the second language of the world. I also played in southeast Asia last year, and found that a lot of those countries are now teaching English as the second language. But music is universal. If you like the flow of the song, it doesn't matter what language it is in.

Q. Is it possible to find yourself feeling bored while on stage?
A. I never get bored on stage. I am pumped and ready to go for every performance.

Q. What's the most embarrassing situation you've had while on stage?
A. The time I went on stage and forgot to zip up my pants! I had a short jacket on and my fly was open. There were a lot of laughs in front and I didn't know why. Then one of the band told me my fly was unzipped. I just made a show of the situation by running behind the drums and peeking my head over the top of them, and made a production of zipping up.

Q. People who work in offices have a casual dress day. Is there any such thing in your business?
A. I dress up, meaning I have flashy stage uniforms, but in good taste. Bright colors, etc. I have custom-made stage clothes, and the public seems to like them, as well as custom-made patent leather cowboy boots. I feel dress is very important, and it makes me feel good!

Q. Other than talent itself, what ability is absolutely essential for anybody who hopes to be an entertainer?
A. Other than the prerequisite talent, you have to have a passion for your music and give your all to the audience, on every performance.

Q. Assuming you have a favorite song to perform, what makes it your favorite?
A. George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Such a story! It is the only song to win Song Of The Year two years in a row.