March 8, 1998 in Features

Clint Black Speaks Out Against Throat Surgery

Jack Hurst Tribune Media Services
 

Country star Clint Black says he is “squarely against” throat surgery on singers and adds that he believes Nashville physicians are “too quick” to perform it.

“I think there is therapy that will save vocal cords and that that should be tried long before surgery,” Black says. “I have talked to a lot of singers who are in trouble and going to the doctor and are going to have the surgery, and I’ve tried to convince them to get with a voice coach and try to work through it.

“Man, I think I would go to the Dalai Lama and live in a tent for a year before I’d go into surgery. I would go to any extreme I had to to avoid it.”

Black already is known for taking some elaborate measures in that area. On tour he not only avoids late nights but even a lot of offstage talking, and he travels with a voice coach in his band.

“We all grow up singing in the clubs, but when you get out there doing interviews and meet-and-greets and then singing and getting on a bus and drying up (the nasal and bronchial passages) and not sleeping well and getting up tired and doing those interviews again the next day, singing all night, getting up, getting on a plane. … I mean, you do that enough, and the old way you sing is not going to work anymore.

“I’ve worked with a coach continually since I got in this business to keep taking the strain off the vocal cords. I see singers out there straining themselves so bad. You can see it in their necks. It’s hard to watch when you know what they’re doing to themselves.”

Adkins recalls bass-ic tale

Trace Adkins, who is scheduled to do some 20 shows with Black during the first half of 1998, says that in the days when he was singing bass for the New Commitment gospel quartet in northwest Louisiana he thought there was no way a bass singer could ever become a solo country star.

Then he saw one on the Grand Ole Opry.

“One night, it must have been 15 years ago, I was watching the Grand Ole Opry on TV, and there was Ed Bruce singing. I thought, ‘If ol’ Ed can do it, maybe I can too, because listen to that man’s voice.”’

Not long ago, Adkins recalls, he and Bruce - best known for writing the Willie Nelson-Waylon Jennings classic “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” - were writing a song together, and he told Bruce that story.

“It really made me feel good,” Adkins adds, “to see on his face that it made HIM feel good to know he had been an influence like that on me.”

‘Horse Whisperer’ album

A soundtrack album leaning heavily toward the alternative end of the country spectrum is being assembled by MCA-Nashville and the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group to accompany the forthcoming Robert Redford film, “The Horse Whisperer.”

Opening with Dwight Yoakam’s rendition of the Eddy Arnold chestnut “Cattle Call” and closing with a George Strait version of “Red River Valley,” the CD’s other acts include The Mavericks, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Don Walser, Steve Earle, Iris DeMent and, in their first work together since 1972, the Hill Country Flatlanders (Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore).

Titled “The Horse Whisperer: Songs From and Inspired By the Motion Picture,” the package is scheduled for release April 7.

Shelton album gets TNN nomination

The power in Ricky Van Shelton’s rich baritone is exemplified in Shelton’s nomination for the TNN-Music City News Award for Album of the Year - despite the fact that his nominated album is on his own RVS Records rather than a so-called “major” label.

Shelton, who became a star in the late 1980s with such hits as “Crime of Passion” and “Somebody Lied,” is infrequently heard on big-time country radio these days although his nominated album, “Making Plans,” reportedly has sold several thousand copies per week in Wal-Marts across America - the only place where it’s available. That makes it ineligible for the industry’s hit charts.

Luckily for Shelton and his fans, the TNN-MCN competition is more open than the charts, and the Shelton fans have taken advantage of it, nominating their hero for Male Artist of the Year and his non-major-label album for Album of the Year. The awards will be presented June 15 on TNN.


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