Country Superstar Clint Black shares the love

Country superstar Clint Black has written, recorded and released more than 100 songs, but he’s not just “Killin’ Time.” The recording artist, whose most recent album is 2013’s “When I Said I Do,” will offer an acoustic performance at 7:30 p.m. March 29 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.

“We’re playing mostly hits, but we’re including three or four new songs and a couple of album cuts,” Black said in an email interview with the Sun-Gazette. “My favorites are the new ones! I am loving these arrangements for the hits, though; ‘State of Mind’ is a standout, ‘No Time to Kill,’ and ‘Tuckered Out’ is a real challenge we love to rise to.”

Black’s acoustic show will include his longtime band as well as one recent addition.

“I have three guys who’ve been with me since 1987: Hayden Nicholas (guitar), Jake Willemain (bass), Dick Gay (drums); and a new guy on keyboards, Dwain Rowe. Dwain’s a veteran of the country music scene and we’re thrilled we got him to join the band,” Black said. “We’re mostly on acoustic guitars, including six-string, 12-string, ganjo (banjo guitar), but we have brought out the electric guitars but we’re using them sparingly. I’m also playing more harmonica this time around.”

Black’s most recent album, comprised of 11 re-recorded hits and three new tracks, is a work of collaboration with multiple singers and songwriters. Nine of the 11 tracks are co-written and two are song as duets.

“I love collaborating but I love the challenge of (writing music) alone as well,” Black said, adding that it’s tough to predict how a song will come together until he sits down with a co-writer and begins throwing ideas around. “Sparks comes from so many places, it’s just a matter of getting in a room together and seeing what will hold up. A great idea will inspire. If you don’t have any inspiration, it probably won’t produce anything you’ll love.

Love is a common thread running through his songs, and a continual source of inspiration for Black; in fact, “When I Said I Do” is a compilation of love songs.

“I’ve returned to the subject of time many times as well as love. Those two subjects will always have something refreshing to me,” he said, adding, “Love is universal. Fast cars, maybe not … but love matters to everyone.”

Black’s musical talents in addition to singing and songwriting include playing guitar, harmonica and drums. While music is his first love, he also has had the opportunity to act in several movies and TV shows beginning in 1994.

“I was never interested in acting, until I got the call to be in ‘Maverick.’ That did it for me,” he said. “It was so much fun, I told my agents, ‘OK, I’m ready to do more of this!’ I do have to be selective though. Music is my number one (priority) and I don’t want to do anything that gets in the way of that. I also have to be careful not to take on a role that requires more skill than I have or can muster.”

Another passion for Black is his involvement with the International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF). He serves as honorary chair for the organization’s “Research to Reality” campaign.

“My brother, Kevin, lost his daughter, Courtney to Rett,” he said. “After she passed, I saw him getting involved in the fundraisers and that’s when I made (IRSF) my number-one charity of focus. We believe a cure is very close at hand. It’s now just a matter of research hours and that research is expensive, so we’re stepping it up now.”

Black raises money for the foundation through, a site that allows fans to watch specially recorded celebrity videos for a donation. Fans can make suggestions for tasks they want Black to perform in the videos and Black makes videos based on the number of votes for each suggestion. Some current video suggestions include “Show us how you shape your cowboy hat”; “How about singing a romantic duet with your wife Lisa (Hartman)”?; and “Can you give us a sneak peak of a song that you’re working on right now?” Video offerings include a tour of Black’s studio and a video of him practicing the “ganjo.” According to Chideo, 80 percent of each donation is given to the applicable charity, with 20 percent going to provide Chideo services.

Online interaction with fans is important to Black, who has more than 50,000 “likes” on his Facebook page.

“I love the connection. I’ve used (social media) to gauge what songs fans would most like to hear in concert, and to see if they like new songs I share snippets of on YouTube. Artists can become isolated and the pages give us a direct, on-our-own-terms relationship with the fans,” he said.

Black hopes to draw on that close relationship with fans for his upcoming CAC performance as well.

“The show we’re bringing to town is full of music and a lot of laughs,” he said. “We’re loving these small theaters and the closeness we have with the audiences.”

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