Iconic Kris is still active as he approaches 80

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Country legend KRIS KRISTOFFERSON is to be honoured by his country contemporaries at a glittering springtime event in Nashville.

The Texan, who will be 80 on June 22. is a performer whose music in a 50-year career has extended far beyond the realms of country and one of his ‘Outlaw’ buddies Willie Nelson will headline the March 16 concert at Music City’s Bridgestone Arena.

The show will be labelled ‘The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson’ and Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Rosanne Cash, Darius Rucker and Trisha Yearwood are among Kristofferson admirers listed to appear and perform.

The show, taped for worldwide video distribution, will feature a performance from Kristofferson.

Grammy-winning producer and musician Don Was will serve as music director for the concert. He produced several of Kristofferson’s albums, ncluding A Moment Forever, This Old Road, Closer to the Bone and Feeling Mortal.

“A major reason for Kris’ enduring popularity is that he’s always been very honest and open about revealing his inner life,” said Was.

“In doing that, he has created an incredible body of work that has resonated for decades with millions of listeners. It’s always a deeply moving experience to sing and play his songs.”

Kris, a former Rhodes College scholar and a one-time air pilot, raised eyebrows in 1970 when he walked on stage at the establishment black tie American Country Music Association awards event with a long beard and in a pair of jeans.

Unabashed, Kris was there to receive a songwriting award for Sunday Morning Coming Down, a classic song which his close friend Johnny Cash made into a No 1 hit.

In the next year, Kris wrote Me and Bobby McGee, another classic number which was a No 1 for Janis Joplin. Help Me Make It Through The Night was yet another huge hit which came from Kris’s pen - the distinctive Kristofferson music had arrived and there were albums The Silver Tongued Devil and Jesus Was A Capricorn (which contained Why Me Lord - his first No 1 hit as a singer).

Through the 1970s and 1980s, Kris complemented his musical prowess with star acting roles in movies such as Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Convoy and Heaven’s Gate.

In the mid-1980s, Kristofferson teamed up with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson under the name of The Highwaymen and they released their first album titled The Highwaymen. They made an appearance in Belfast.

Although getting on in years, Kris is still touring and recording and he was in Scotland with his band for several concerts this month, before moving to Dublin for shows at the Olympia Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The appeal of Kris Kristofferson, who has been to Northern Ireland many times for shows not just in Belfast, continues to resonate. Although never part of the Nashville establishment, Kris is among the true greats of country.

* GARTH BROOKS, still giving Ireland a miss after the debacle over five aborted shows in Dublin in July 2014, has now turned his attention to entertaining in Canada.

The Oklahoma man plays an unprecedented fourth straight concert at the Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa in early April, joined by his wife Trisha Yearwood. More than 50,000 tickets were sold in a single day for three concerts on April 1, 2 and 3. If the fourth show sells out the Ottawa gate will surpass six million dollars on sales of 70,000 tickets.