International country star Charley Pride figures he actually sings even better now than throughout his chart-topping career of several decades.
He’ll be performing May 26 at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, on a cross-Canada tour.
Pride has come a long way since crooning in the back of a team bus while playing professional baseball.
With his textured baritone, and self-taught guitar, he became a major hit-maker in the 70s, and the first and only African-American country superstar.
When you ask him how old he is, the 74-year-old answers demurely what sounds like, “Plenty-nine,” and then he laughs.
Pride has always had a particular fondness for Canada, and enjoys performing here. He’s hitting seven provinces on this concert tour.
“I continue to tour because people keep coming to see me,” Pride tells the Progress in a phone interview from his Texas home.
“People say I sing better now than I ever did. To me it’s not a job. It’s about delivering the lyrics, the music and emotions.”
Pride was born to sharecroppers in Mississippi during the Great Depression, and bought his first guitar at 14. He feels fortunate to be able to acknowledge his phenomenal success.
Between 1969, when he first hit #1 on the singles chart with “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)” and 1984, when he took the top spot again with “Every Heart Should Have One”, Pride had more than 36 number one country singles.
It was around the time he put out his third single that he decided he wanted to be known across the globe.
“I told my then manager that I wanted to be known all over, not just america,” Pride says.
He performed across Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Fiji.
On RCA Records, Charley Pride is second in sales only to Elvis Presley.
Dozens of Pride’s chart toppers now stand as modern classics. “Kiss An Angel Good Morning” went on to be a million-selling crossover single and helped Pride land Country Music Association Awards as Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972.
Opening for Pride will be multiple CCMA winner Anita Perras. During her career Perras has released seven albums and had 26 charted singles. “One Smokey Rose”, “The Tip of My Fingers” “Here Comes My Baby” and “Heads You Win, Tails I Lose” all made it into the Top 10.
Pride continues his illustrious career with the release of “Comfort of Her Wings” on Music City Records. The album shows that Charley has not slowed down and proves his voice is as good, if not better than ever.
Later he was called “the Pride of Country Music,” and he’s still going strong. What does he like to be known for?
“I’d like to be know as someone who tried to do the best he could, and in so doing helping other people and make a good living,” he says.
“I appreciate the gifts I was given by the almighty.”
An Evening with Charley Pride,Saturday, May 26 at Prospera Centre, General Tickets are $65.50, Rows 1-5 are $74.50 (plus service fees and or charges) Tickets online at KBRTicketing.com, at the Prospera Centre Box Office or the Chilliwack Chiefs Office.