Kenny Rogers will perform at Westman Place Jan. 24. (SUBMITTED)
Kenny Rogers should be in for a scenic treat when he arrives in Brandon on Jan. 24 to perform at the Keystone Centre with B.J. Thomas.
Rogers, an avid photographer, said that although he isn’t looking forward to the cold weather he has been hearing about, he is hoping to snap some shots of the snow. The American country singer-songwriter from Houston isn’t all that familiar with Westman’s normal winter weather.
"I don’t think my sweatshirts are going to work out there," he said during a telephone interview with the Sun on Friday. "I’d love to get out there and take some snow pictures."
Plenty of snow and flatlands are sure to be in his near future as Rogers gears up for the portion of his world tour that will take him across the Prairies.
With 24 No. 1 hits spanning a nearly 60-year career, Rogers said his show will focus on the hits this time around, some of which are sure to include "Lady," "Lucille," "Islands In The Stream," his duet with Dolly Parton, and one of his personal favourites to perform, "We’ve Got Tonight," a duet recorded with Sheena Easton.
"It’s kind of a hits performance, if you will, pretty much every song is a hit somewhere and has had some value in Canada."
Although he’s renowned for his raspy voice and his amiable interactions with the crowd during his shows, it’s his sense of humour that he hopes audiences will go home remembering.
"I have this theory that there will be a lot of people dragged there who might not even like my music, but if I can make them laugh and make them smile then that’s something to feel good about," he said. "I’d rather have people leave saying they really enjoyed the show."
Rogers has enjoyed a very successful musical career that has touched upon a wide range of songs about life and love, something that hasn’t always come so easily to the country singer.
"I’ve had a bunch of marriages, but there’s several different reasons for that," he said. "I think that there is fine line between driven and selfish, and I think I may have crossed that line a few times, which has affected my relationships."
Rogers, who’s often referred to as "The Gambler," after his 1978 hit, has a string of failed marriages behind him. But nowadays he’s a happily married man to his fifth wife, Wanda Miller. The couple has been married now for 17 years and have eight-year-old identical twin boys.
"My past relationships have taught me that I’m not afraid of commitment," he said. "I would be away for six months at a time and you can’t have a relationship like that."
Now the family man stays closer to home and tries to only stray for a couple of weeks at time while he’s on tour or travelling.
"I’ve learned that as I’ve gotten older that I still love music just as much, but I won’t sacrifice my family."
His family along with his childhood and career are all things that he documents in his recently released memoir, "Luck or Something Like It." Originally Rogers started off working with a ghost writer, but after she succumbed to a battle with lung cancer, he was determined to complete the project on his own.
"People told me that I still needed to write it," he said. "Johnny Cash didn’t get a chance to write his and right there are so many musical memories that could have been shared."
His own book, named after his song, "Love Or Something Like It," serves as a documentation of his rise to fame for his fans, though it’s mixed in with other stories.
"There’s a lot of my childhood history in there that I found fun to write."
Rogers also used his book as a way of revisiting his father’s alcoholism.
"One of my biggest regrets is that I never got to know my father or why my father drank," he said. "I never bothered to find out, he just drank and that was that."
Rogers added that he thinks he got his sense of humour from his father and values from his mother.
"My mother went to church three times a week."
Although his childhood memories came easily to him, remembering stories from his nearly five-and-a-half-decade career presented some problems. Rogers said he was forced to rely on close friends and sites like Wikipedia to form his career timeline.
"Fortunately I’ve had some of the same people around me for the last 40 years who can say to me, ‘Hey, remember that?’ So that’s how I get my memories, talking to other people who have been there with me and help me relive my life."
Some other memories that have managed to escape him over the years include the show he performed in Brandon in the early 1980s.
"I don’t remember much from the ’70s or ’80s," he said. "When your life is in the fast lane as mine was then, you don’t really take notes."
Rogers will perform at Westman Place at 8 p.m. on Jan. 24.
Keystone Centre general manager Neil Thomson confirmed Friday morning that there are still 500 tickets available. For more ticket information, you can call 204-726-3555 or visit tickets.keystonecentre.ca.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 12, 2013