Pam Tillis to showcase humor, imagination at benefit concert

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Jan. 15, 2014 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 14, 2014 at 7:15 p.m.

A two-time Grammy Award-winning country star will show her southern sensibility Thursday for a benefit at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.

Pam Tillis, a child of Music City royalty and a former rebel, has strong feelings about supporting children and local arts.

With a children's book due out soon illustrated by her sister and a childhood spent surrounded by artists and musicians, Tillis knows the value of creativity and imagination.

"There's a quality of life that art and culture bring to a community," she said. "While on one hand, it enhances the economic picture of an area; on the other hand, you can't even begin to put a value on it, especially for our children."

The concert supports Bluebonnet Youth Ranch, the Victoria Lions Club, Theatre Victoria and the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.

Now out from under the thumb of record executives, Tillis is making music on her own terms the way she wants it.

"I just believe that if you put your heart into it, that anything you do with love will translate to the audience," she said. "It's all about joy."

She considers music a form of therapy.

"Sometimes, people get bottled up emotionally; that's what music is for," she said. "It helps loosen all that up."

With her songs on life, love and not taking yourself too seriously, she said she could talk for days about what makes country music genuine, despite country radio straying from its roots.

"I don't really like music that's overtly calculated or manipulative, dumbed-down music," she said. "It feels like a beer commercial."

She pushes herself out of her comfort zone to keep her songs organic and real.

"It's just a matter of not compromising and not going into autopilot," Tillis said.

Humor is one of the key components.

"Humor is one of the very best coping mechanisms God has given us," she said. "Thank God I've got a good sense of humor."

Tillis is continuing the Grits and Glamour tour with Lorrie Morgan, who collaborated together to release "Dos Divas" in 2013. She also has plans to work on two new albums this year and is building a cabin with her husband outside of Nashville.



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