By Kevin Wilson
The Clovis Music Festival was looking for “A Better Man,” and found it in this year’s featured act.
Clint Black, who is the headline act Saturday at the Marshall Middle School Auditorium, is best known for his stellar debut album, “Killin’ Time,” and top hit “A Better Man.”
Black has released 14 albums, 10 studio, with “On Purpose” his latest. He answered a series of questions — via email, his public relations people requested, to save his voice.
Describe “On Purpose” for somebody who’s on the fence about buying the album. How much can Clovis fans expect to hear of the new album?
“On Purpose” is 14 original songs, produced by yours truly. I played almost all the electric guitars on the disc and poured my heart out to do it. The reaction to it has been everything I hoped it would be by my longtime fans and music journalists.
A lot of your musical influences either have roots in this area or have played here. What role does a place like Clovis have in country music?
I don’t know a lot about the history in Clovis. I know everyone has played there from Roy Rogers, to Woody Guthrie, to … me. Roy and Woody would’ve been camped out just outside of town, hunting for dinner. I think I’m going to order some to-go food from a restaurant.
What do you think is the biggest difference between country music when you released “A Better Man” and now?
It’s a lot more rock and pop now. You can even hear rap in your country today. I know there are stations today that won’t play ballads, so the tenor of the music is much more up-tempo.
What’s the difference in your music over that same period?
I’ve evolved as a player, producer and even an engineer of sorts, and in the process, the sounds are better and in some cases more aggressive. I haven’t pushed things as far as the newer artists, but it rocks a little more now than it did in the early 90s.
Who’s the most talented person in country music that nobody’s heard of?
I don’t know; I haven’t heard of them. I can tell you, young people need to discover Steve Wariner. We all know his music but he’s more amazing today than he was when he was filling up the charts with his hits. He’s right up there with Chet Atkins as a guitarist and as a songwriter, there’s no one better.
What’s a country song you wish you had written or first performed?
I wish I’d written, “Already Taken” by Steve Wariner. That song always moves me.
You’ve had plenty of television opportunities. What’s a show you’d like to do?
I’m a big fan of Tim Allen. His ABC show “Last Man Standing” is very good.
Who would you like to collaborate with for a song?
James Taylor has always been at the top of the list. I recently caught Kasey Musgrave’s performance on Austin City Limits and I’m now a huge fan.
Which deceased artist do you most wish you had a chance to work with?
Two names come to mind; Jim Croce and Dan Fogelberg.
Everybody who tours has a rider list, which details foods, drinks and items that should be in the dressing room. What’s on your list?
I don’t have any musts on my list. If I did, they would probably be roasted, unsalted almonds and maybe some sunflower seeds. In New Mexico … tamales.