Back to Black

Back to Black

Versatile country music megastar brings acoustic tour to Thousand Oaks

By Kelly McCartney 09/12/2013

On Sept. 15, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza hosts “An Evening with Clint Black” in the Fred Kavli Theatre. With more than 20 million albums sold worldwide, the country music icon continues to pound the pavement to play shows. In this case, Black is on the road in support of a new release, When I Said I Do — a set that features three new tunes and 11 older songs. Black has revisited those old gems to breathe new life into them for a set available through Cracker Barrel stores and digital outlets since Aug. 5.

Even a legacy artist like Black has to keep up with the ever-shifting tides of artistic commerce, seeking out innovative partnerships in order to get his music out there. In the down-home country music market, Cracker Barrel seems like an obvious choice. In the album release announcement, the chain’s marketing manager, Julie Craig, agrees; “We think his authenticity is a natural connection with our brand and will really be enjoyed by our guests.” Other artists who have teamed up with the store include Alabama, Amy Grant, Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss &Union Station and Wynonna.

When I Said I Do is Black’s first album release since 2005. Before any distribution deals were made, he polled his Facebook and Twitter followers about how they might like to have it delivered. Most of them suggested YouTube. That’s called an old dog learning new tricks.

And that’s not the only new trick Black has learned. In his down time between album releases, he has logged hours crafting songs for Aussie Adventure, which is akin to Disney on Ice but with an equestrian flair. More than 30 horses and myriad performers are involved in the country-themed production set on an Australian ranch circa 1901. Writing songs within the set parameters of a stage show was an artistic challenge that Black had to keep “pushing through.” As he told Billboard, “You just have to persevere and get it done, and hope that the producers and the writers of the show find it’s saying what you needed to say.”

Black seems always to be up for a challenge. When he’s not wearing his country hat, he dons an acting cap and gets to it. His first taste came with 1994’s Maverick, then The Larry Sanders Show, Anger Management, Flicka 2, Flicka 3 and Coming Home. On the reality TV side, Nashville Star, Secret Talents of the Stars and Celebrity Apprentice have all seen appearances by Black. That last entry, though, is the last, as Black has vowed that he is now out of the reality TV business for good.

Besides, country music is his heart and soul — something that will be on full display when he hits TOCAP with his stripped-down, all-acoustic show. Like so many artists, Black has had to reconfigure his set to fit the smaller, more intimate venue — a setting in which big hits don’t always play the same as they do from an arena stage. Rest assured, a heaping portion of his hits will still be served.

As an artist who has crossed the 100-song mark, Black seems happy with where he’s been and where he’s going. He noted in an interview with Amarillo Globe News, “I’ll find success because I was true to myself and my music, and someone knew what to do with me to get the music out.”

Clint Black will perform at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on Sunday, Sept. 15.

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