Mel Tillis & The Statesiders coming to Lufkin
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Concert facts:

Mel Tillis & The Statesiders

Host: Brad Maule, "Dr. Tony Jones," from TV's General Hospital

August 31, 2013 - 7pm

Lufkin Middle School Auditorium (Formerly Lufkin High School)

800 E. Denman Ave.

Tickets: $35 Advance - $40 Door

General Admission

Ticket locations:  Baskins Department Stores in Lufkin, Nacogdoches & Tyler

Info & Credit Card Orders: 936.554.5822 or 888.218.6464




"It seems like just yesterday that I left Florida headin' for Nashville, Tennessee, in my '49 Mercury with a busted windshield, a pregnant wife and $29 in my pocket!  2013 marks my 57th year in the music business.  If I lost it all tomorrow, I guess I could say it only cost me $29 and it's been one heck of a ride!" - Mel Tillis


Country Music Hall of Fame Member, Mel Tillis, will perform in concert at 7pm on Saturday, August 31, 2013, at the Lufkin Middle School Auditorium (Formerly Lufkin High School) located at 800 East Denman Avenue. The host for the concert will be Brad Maule, who played "Dr. Tony Jones" in TVs General Hospital, for 22 years.


David Stallings, of Nacogdoches-based Landmark Productions, first produced a Mel Tillis Concert in this same auditorium in 1971.  "Mel was 39 and I was 24 at the time...This time, He's 81 and I'm 66.  We share the same birthday, August 8th, and a lot of water's gone under the bridge since then," Stallings said.


Mel Tillis was born in Dover, Florida, in 1932. His stutter developed during his childhood, a result of a bout with malaria. As a child, Tillis learned the drums as well as guitar. At age 16 he won a local talent show and soon joined the United States Air Force and worked for the railroad. When young Tillis was stationed in Okinawa, he formed a band called The Westerners, which played at local nightclubs.  
After leaving the military in 1955, Tillis worked a number of odd jobs and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, the following year. Tillis wrote "I'm Tired", a No. 3 country hit for Webb Pierce in 1957.[ Other Tillis hits include "Honky Tonk Song" and "Tupelo County Jail". Ray Price and Brenda Lee also charted hits with Tillis's material around this time. In the late 1950s, after becoming a hit-making songwriter, he signed his own contract with Columbia Records. In 1958, he had his first Top 40 hit, "The Violet and a Rose", followed by the Top 25 hit "Sawmill".
Although Tillis charted on his own Billboard's Hot Country Songs list, he had more success as a songwriter. He continued to be Webb Pierce's songwriter. He wrote the hits "I Ain't Never" (Tillis's own future hit) and "Crazy, Wild Desire". Bobby Bare, Tom Jones ("Detroit"), Wanda Jackson, and Stonewall Jackson also covered his songs. Tillis continued to record on his own. Some well-known songs from his Columbia years include "The Brooklyn Bridge", "Loco Weed", and "Walk on, Boy". However, he didn't achieve major success on the country charts on his own.
In the mid '60s, Tillis switched over to Kapp Records, and in 1965 he had his first Top 15 hit with "Wine". Other hits continued to follow, such as "Stateside" and "Life Turned Her That Way" (which was later covered by Ricky Van Shelton in 1988, going to No. 1). He wrote for Charley Pride ("The Snakes Crawl At Night") and wrote a big hit for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition titled "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To town.  He also wrote the hit "Mental Revenge" for Outlaw superstar Waylon Jennings. In 1968, Tillis achieved his first Top 10 hit with "Who's Julie". He also was a regular featured singer on The Porter Wagoner Show.


Things turned around in 1969 for Tillis. He finally achieved the success he always wanted with two Top 10 country hits, "These Lonely Hands of Mine" and "She'll Be Hanging Around Somewhere". In 1970, he reached the Top 5 with "Heart Over Mind", which peaked at No. 3 on the Hot Country Songs list. After this, Tillis's career as a country singer went into full swing. Hits soon came quite easily, such as "Heaven Everyday" (1970), "Commercial Affection" (1970), "Arms of a Fool" (1970), "Take My Hand" (a duet with Sherry Bryce in 1971), and "Brand New Mister Me" (1971). In 1972, Tillis achieved his first chart-topper with his version of his song "I Ain't Never". Even though the song was previously a hit by Webb Pierce, Tillis's version is the better-known version of the two. Most of the above-mentioned song hits were recorded on MGM Records, Tillis's record company in the early part of the decade.


After the success of "I Ain't Never", Tillis had another hit, which came close to No. 1 (reaching No. 3), entitled "Neon Rose", followed by "Sawmill", which reached No. 2. "Midnight, Me and the Blues" was another near chart-topper in 1974. Other hits Tillis had on MGM include "Stomp Them Grapes" (1974), "Memory Maker" (1974), "Woman in the Back of My Mind" (1975), and his version of "Mental Revenge" (1976). Tillis achieved his biggest success with MCA Records, with whom he signed in 1976. It started with a pair of two No. 1 hits in 1976, "Good Woman Blues" and "Heart Healer". (In an interview, he mentioned having written five hits in one week.) Thanks to this success, Tillis won the CMA Awards'most coveted award, Entertainer of the Year, and was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame that year. He achieved another No. 1 in 1978 with "I Believe In You" and then again in 1979 with "Coca-Cola Cowboy", which was put in the Clint Eastwood movie Every Which Way But Loose, in which he also made a cameo appearance. Also in 1978, Mel co-hosted a short-lived variety series on ABC television, Mel and Susan Together, with model Susan Anton. Other hits around this time included "Send Me Down to Tucson", "Ain't No California", and "I Got the Hoss". In mid 1979, Tillis switched to another record company, this time with Elektra Records.
Since his heyday in the 1970s, Tillis remained a songwriter in the 1980s, writing hits for Ricky Skaggs and Randy Travis. He also wrote his autobiography called Stutterin' Boy (the title comes from Tillis's speech impediment). Tillis appeared as the television commercial spokesman for the fast-food restaurant chain Whataburger during the 1980s. He also built a theater in Branson, Missouri, where he performed on a regular basis until 2002. In 1998, he teamed up with Bobby Bare, Waylon Jennings and Jerry Reed to form The Old Dogs. The group recorded a double album of songs penned entirely by Shel Silverstein. In July 1998 Old Dogs Volumes 1 and 2 were released on the Atlanic Records label. A companion video as well as a Greatest Hits album (composed of previously released material by each individual artist) were also available. In the 1990s, Tillis's daughter, Pam, became a successful country music singer in her own right, having hits like "Maybe It Was Memphis" and "Shake The Sugar Tree."


After signing with Elektra in mid 1979, he continued to make hit songs such as "Blind In Love" and "Lying Time Again", both hits in 1979. Up until 1981, Tillis remained on top his game as one of country music's most successful vocalists of the era. "Your Body Is an Outlaw" went to No. 3 in 1980, followed by another Top 10 hit, "Steppin' Out". "Southern Rains" in 1981 was his last No. 1 hit. That same year, he released an album of duets with Nancy Sinatra, which spawned two hit singles; the Top 30 hit "Texas Cowboy Night" and the double A-side, "Play Me or Trade Me/Where Would I Be". He remained with Elektra until 1982 before switching back to MCA for a brief period in 1983. That summer, he scored a Top 10 hit with "In The Middle Of The Night" and had his last Top 10 hit with "New Patches" in 1984. By this time, however, Tillis had built up a financial empire thanks to investing in music publishing companies such as Sawgrass and Cedarwood. He also appeared in movies, including Love RevivalW. W. and the Dixie Dance Kings (1975), The Villan (1979), The Cannonball Run (1981), and Uphill All The Way (1986), a comedy western in which he starred with fellow country singer Roy Clark, among others. In 1979 he acquired radio station KIXZ (AM) in Amarillo, Texas, from Sammons-Ruff Associates, which converted from Top 40 to country music and became a force in the Panhandle region. A short time later, Tillis acquired Amarillo, Texas, Rock FM station KYTX, which changed calls to KMML (a play on Tillis's stutter). Still later he operated WMML in Mobile, Alabama. All of his stations were sold after a time for a healthy return. 
The Grand Ole Opry inducted Mel Tillis on June 9, 2007. He was inducted into the Opry by his daughter Pam. Along with being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, it was announced on August 7 that year that Tillis would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Tillis has six children: songwriter Mel "Sonny" Tillis, Jr., singer-songwriter Pam, Carrie April Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Tillis, and Hannah Tillis. Mel has one brother, Richard, and two sisters, Linda and Imogene. He also has six grandchildren.


The event is presented by Landmark Productions and Lehmann Eye Center, of Nacogdoches. Tickets are priced at $35 advance and $40 at the door if any remain available.  Tickets are available at Baskin's Department Stores in Lufkin, Nacogdoches & Tyler.  Phone 888.218.6464 for credit card orders or information.


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