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An Interview with John Conlee
By CSO European Contributing Journalist, Christian Lamitschka.

In the photo on his latest CD cover „Classics“, John Conlee is holding both a vintage microphone and a pair of „rose colored glasses“ - truly in this case a picture that is indeed worth a thousand words.

CL: John, pleas tell us something about the photo (CD cover) on your latest CD „Classic“.

JC: The mic pictured is one from my studio, an RCA 44A, which I love.  I thought it helped convey the „Classic“ look in a nice way.

CL: John, which songs can your fans find on your latest CD „Classic“?

JC: The CD covers the first 2/3 of my career in chronological order.  We’ve also included our first new songs in several years.  Each of the 3 new ones have been released as singles.

CL: John, please tell us something about your life.

JC: I was born and raised on a Kentucky farm which we still operate.  I’ve made a living at several careers including the funeral profession (6 years); and the radio broadcasting business (9 years).  I pursued music full time in 1978 with the success of Rose Colored Glasses.

CL: John, you’ve performed at nine Farm Aid concerts. Tell us about your commitment to Farm Aid.

JC: I’m concerned that we’re still losing the family farm system of agriculture and commend Willie for keeping the focus on this fact via Farm Aid.

CL: John, you struck gold with songs like „Lady Lay Down“ or „Backside Of Thirty“. Do you have a special technique or gift for picking hit songs?

JC: Most of the credit goes to my producer from the beginning, Bud Logan.  We see songs the same way.  They must tell a story and touch me personally for me to record them.

CL: John, 1979 you won „Best New Male Vocalist“ from the ACM. Can you remember what it was like to get this award?

JC: Both a surprise and a thrill.  It was icing on the cake during our initial success and helped pave the way toward Grand Ole Opry membership in 1981.

CL:  John, what happen after this?

JC: More hits and live shows all over the place.  We’ve logged about 2.5 million miles since 1978.  And along the way, my wife Gale and I amassed three children and our first grandchild. 

CL: John, can you remember how many smash hits you had in your career? And which ones are your personal top 3?

JC: We’ve had 30 hit singles over the years.  Rose Colored Glasses will always head my own personal favorites list.  I love every song we’ve done ( or I wouldn’t have recorded them), but Old School and Common Man are also special to me.

CL: John, how can the fans keep up with the latest news about you?

JC: Go to www.johnconlee.com.  like I do.  It’s the best place to check our road schedule or to get our latest CD.  Our brand new gospel CD „Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus“ is available there now.

CL: John, last question. Can you tell us something about your life and what advice you have for someone who would like to be a country music artist?

JC: Before it was my career, music was my hobby.  I did it for fun and I suppose that would’ve continued had there been no career.  Moving to Nashville to work in radio is what gave me the opportunity to meet the people who could help make the hobby a career.  Odds of success are never good in the music business, but it can give you a leg up if you locate where the decisions are made…and for country music, that’s Nashville.  But the best advice is to be sure you’re having fun doing it whether the career works out or not. 

Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )


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