"Back to the Well, Kenny Rogers' 61 st career record, has
been long in the making. Produced by Kenny Rogers, John Guess
and Joe Chemay with executive producer, Jim Mazza, Back to the
Well, took one and one-half years to record and is already being
hailed as one of the best recordings of Rogers ' long and illustrious
career. The album, set for release September 23, 2003 , features
a diverse line-up of songwriters including Phil Vassar, Dolly
Parton, Mark Knofler and Steve Wariner, and an equally diverse
collection of songs.
Amongst the key cuts on the album, Handprints on the Wall, which
ships to radio stations in September 2003, is sure to touch the
hearts of listeners nationwide. Handprints on the Wall reminds
us all of how quickly time passes and children grow, so perfectly
described through the eyes of a parent. The song was written by
Scott Innes (the voice of Scooby-Doo), Claude Parish and Nelson
Blanchard. Country Superstar, Tim McGraw, joins Kenny on the upbeat
honky-tonk, Owe Them More Than That, an outstanding duet that
pays tribute to the trailblazers of country - Lefty Frizzell,
Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams. The unmistakable
vocals of country darling, Alison Krauss, join in another poignant
duet, Love Like This, which brings the relationship to the forefront.
Also featured on Back to the Well, is a brand new duet with
Dolly Parton entitled, Undercover. Twenty years after first
recording, Islands in the Stream, one of the biggest selling
country singles ever, Rogers and Dolly Parton were reunited in
the studio in Franklin , Tennessee recently to record the spicy
new duet written by Dolly especially for the pair. When Dolly
and I first started talking about recording again, we listened
to several songs, Rogers commented. Right from the start, I
knew it had to be a song that Dolly would write because no one
could write better for us than she can. Sometimes the stars line
up, and everything is perfect, and that's when things really happen
I'm Missing You, written by tunesmiths Steve Wariner and Billy
Kirsch, expresses the feelings of a young soldier while away from
home in a foreign land and puts into words an emotion that we
all experience. Rogers recently visited U.S. Troops and their
families in Dover , Delaware and Fort Bragg , North Carolina to
thank them for their service to our country. It is the mark of
a great songwriter to be able to put you in the mind of someone
else in a place you've never been.make you feel their pain, their
sorrow, their loneliness, comments Rogers about Wariner and Kirsch.
It's a very touching piece of music that puts the war on one-on-one
Additional album highlights include It's a Beautiful Life,
an upbeat song that captures life at its best, written by award-winning
songwriter, Phil Vassar with noted writers Charlie Black and Jim
Collins; Prairie Wedding, a tale about a man meeting his mail
order bride for the first time, penned by Dire Straits premier
guitar player, Mark Knopfler; 727 East Magnolia Avenue, a tender
reminisce about a lost relationship written by award-winning songwriters
Steven Dale Jones and Bobby Tomberlin; and the title track, Back
to the Well, a bluegrass jam which has become one of the highlights
of Rogers' live shows.
Music is what I am, Rogers recently told a newspaper reporter.
Everything else is what I do. That everything else includes
his work as an accomplished photographer, author, actor and writer.
Amongst his upcoming projects is a new photography book entitled
Faces and Places. Rogers hopes to finish the book while on a
three-week photography safari in China this fall.
Rogers has also enjoyed a wonderfully fulfilling career as an
actor, and is best known worldwide for his colorful portrayal
as THE GAMBLER's Brady Hawks. Rogers ' popular Gambler mega-hit
recording spawned the longest running mini-series in the history
of television in the United States . The five Gambler mini-series
has attracted over 100 million viewers nationwide. In addition,
Rogers guest-starred in an episode of the top-rated CBS series,
Touched by an Angel, written especially around Rogers ' #1 hit,
Buy Me a Rose.
Fall 2001 marked the release of Kenny Rogers' first live performance
album, Live by Request. Televised live on A & E's Live
by Request interactive concert series, the album features 17
of Rogers ' greatest hits including two duets with Linda Davis
and 13 number one songs. In addition, Rogers ' delights the audience
by telling the little-known stories behind the songs. Also new
on the shelves in fall '01 was Rogers ' newly reissued, enhanced
CD, The Gambler .
In 1999, Rogers returned to the top of the charts with his back-to-back
hit singles, The Greatest, and his 22 nd Number One hit with
Alison Krauss and Billy Dean, Buy Me a Rose. Both songs captured
the #1 slot on CMT's Top 12 Video Countdown and propelled Rogers
' She Rides Wild Horses album to platinum status. The disc was
the debut project from Rogers ' Nashville-based record label,
The Greatest struck a chord and touched people in a very special
way. It reminded me how simple life used to be.a boy.a bat.and
a ball, Rogers said. This song captures that rare moment in
every young kid's life where the game is more important than the
score. Penned by Don Schlitz, the same tunesmith that wrote The
Gambler, the song's release coincided with the 20 th anniversary
of Kenny's signature song. The Greatest book, an adaptation
of the hit song, was published as a fully illustrated, hardcover
32-page children's book with a companion CD.
Similarly, the follow up single, Buy Me a Rose, a touching
ballad about the little things in life that mean so much, garnered
an emotional response from coast to coast. Inspired by Buy Me
a Rose, the producers of the CBS Television Network show, Touched
by An Angel, built an entire episode of its top-rated series around
the song. The segment, broadcast in February, 2000, guest starred
Kenny Rogers and was the second highest rated Touched by An Angel
show of the season.
An American icon, there are few artists of Kenny's stature. His
phenomenal success as a global entertainer is unique. In the span
of nearly five decades, Rogers has recorded 61 albums, which have
sold over 105 million records worldwide. In March 1999, the Recording
Industry Association of America awarded Kenny the prestigious
Diamond Award celebrating sales of more than 10 million albums
for his Greatest Hits album.
As one of country music's biggest crossover successes, Kenny's
numerous accolades include three Grammy Awards, 11 People's Choice
Awards, 18 American Music Awards, eight Academy of Country Music
Awards and five Country Music Association Awards. In addition,
he was named Favorite Singer of All Time in a PM Magazine/USA
Today poll in 1986, and in 1989 readers of PEOPLE MAGAZINE voted
Rogers Favorite Male Vocalist. Perhaps his most cherished award
is also his most personal. In 1990, Rogers was honored with the
Horatio Alger Award, given to those who have distinguished themselves
despite humble beginnings. For both Rogers and his admirers, his
success is all the more remarkable for his having been raised
in a Houston public housing project with seven brothers and sisters.
Always rising to meet new artistic and personal challenges, Kenny
embarked on yet another exciting endeavor starring in the off-Broadway
1998 theatrical production of, Christmas from the Heart Featuring
the 'Toy Shoppe.' Based on an original story written by Rogers
and Kelly Junkermann, the musical was presented by Hallmark Entertainment
at the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City for a six-week
holiday run. Rogers will tour the lavish production for the seventh
year this upcoming holiday season on an incredible 22-city tour.
The Toy Shoppe book, the second in a series of new beautifully
illustrated children's books, was published in the fall of 2000
with a companion CD. The original music from the production, featuring
11 new songs co-written by Rogers , was released on Dreamcatcher
Records, a division of the artist's newly formed Dreamcatcher
Entertainment, Inc. The album was the follow-up holiday release
to Rogers ' Number One go ld album, The Gift , which was nominated
for both a Dove Award and for Country Album of the Year by the
Gospel Music Association in 1996.
Last fall marked the publication of Rogers ' third children's
book, a touching and inspirational family Christmas classic available
through Harper Collins Children's Books entitled, Christmas in
Canaan . Co-written with screenwriter Donald Davenport, Christmas
in Canaan is an uplifting story of a friendship that develops
between a poor white farm boy and a brilliant young black boy
during the early 1960s in rural Texas .
In the meantime, Rogers continues to take his music on the road
conducting more than 120 concerts each year. His live concerts
have always been a mainstay of his success and he continues to
pack them in not only in the United States , but also in Europe
, New Zealand , Africa and the Far East . In April-May, 1998,
he performed with Reba McEntire throughout Australia . Rogers
embarked on a month-long extensive European concert tour commencing
in April 1999 visiting such territories as Poland, Germany, Holland,
Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Scotland and England.
Success of the magnitude of Kenny Rogers brings with it an opportunity
to draw some attention to the charitable causes that he champions.
After the 1981 death of friend, singer/songwriter Harry Chapin,
Rogers assumed his position at the forefront of the movement to
aid the hungry. Access to proper food and nutrition, said Rogers
, is perhaps the most fundamental right of every human being.
Thus, the World Hunger Media Awards were created.
In 1985, Rogers participated in the historical recording of We
Are the World, the multi-celebrity performance which raised millions
of dollars for famine relief in Africa . A year later, he co-chaired
the audacious, Hands Across America fund-raiser for America
's hungry. Rogers was also instrumental in aiding the hungry in
his own backyard in Georgia by establishing the Athens Area Homeless
Shelter which opened in 1990.
Between his entertainment and charitable endeavors, Rogers has
managed to find the time to become a well-respected photographer,
as mentioned previously. He was invited to the White House to
create a portrait of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for the
CBS TV Special A DAY IN THE LIFE OF COUNTRY MUSIC that aired in
1993. He has also published two well-received photography books:
KENNY ROGERS' AMERICA , composed of black and white landscapes,
and KENNY ROGERS YOUR FRIENDS AND MINE, a collection of celebrity
portraits. He has just completed his third photography book highlighting
country stars past and present, entitled THIS IS MY COUNTRY.
The historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville , Tennessee is presently
hosting a limited engagement premiere of photographs culled from
THIS IS MY COUNTRY.
Kenny Rogers is a man constantly seeking new challenges, new
ways to maintain excitement both for himself and his fans. Most
of all, he is exactly as he seems; a proud man, but also a sincere,
honest one, unfazed by his success and largely unimpressed by
his own accomplishments.