By Dave Gil de Rubio
Clint Black considers himself lazy — a rather absurd statement when you consider what he did during the pandemic-fueled year-and-a-half of lockdown.
Besides performing on a regular livestream and launching a line of coffee called Clint Black Cowboy Coffee, he hosted “Talking in Circles with Clint Black,” a television show where he talks shop with other artists. Country artists Travis Tritt and Brad Paisley have already been guests.
All this came on top of releasing 2020’s “Out of Sane,” Black’s 13th studio album and one that retains his signature country sound. And now with live music venues open again, Black embraces his return to the road.
“My booking agent — we renamed him ‘rescheduling agent’ — did a great job of keeping things moved up just far enough in front of us so (live shows) might happen,” Black said in a recent phone interview. “Now, I’m as busy as I like to be.”
Black’s October dates, including an Oct. 24 concert at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, are nearly two-hour shows dubbed “An Evening With.” Black has recorded nearly 30 top 10 country hits since his multi-platinum 1989 debut “Killin’ Time.” The next decade saw him consistently release hits as follow-up albums such as 1990’s “Put Yourself in My Shoes,” 1993’s “No Time to Kill,” 1994’s “One Emotion” and 1997’s “Nothin’ but the Taillights” all went top 10.
But as the 1990s moved on, Black said his relationship with his label, RCA, soured because of the label’s desire to have Black, who up to then had written his own songs, collaborate with Music Row songwriters. A conversation with RCA President Joe Galante was a turning point.
“I didn’t understand the pressure to record outside songs when I have so many songs that I had written,” Black said. “He said they just wanted a little taste, and it broke my heart. If he would have said that he didn’t think my songs were that great anymore, I would have felt better. It would have still hurt. But it wasn’t about that. It was about spreading the revenue from my record to share it with the people on Music Row, and I thought that was the exact wrong reason to do anything.”
Following the release of 1999’s “D’lectrified,” Black left RCA. Although he has continued making albums and touring, he has expanded into television and film roles.
Among the shows he’s appeared on are “Secret Talents of the Stars,” “Celebrity Duets” (“I sang a song with Cheech [Marin]”) and “Celebrity Apprentice.”
“I’m glad I have it behind me,” he said of the “Celebrity Apprentice” appearance. “That up close, up front and personal exposure to ugliness is more than I ever want to see again.”
Most recently, he and wife Lisa Hartman Black appeared in last year’s season of “The Masked Singer” as “Snow Owls,” competing while riding in a mobile egg.
“It was really challenging in a good way,” he said. “The challenge in a bad way was singing inside that suit. You can’t see. The little lenses you’re looking out of are fogged up after 30 seconds and you’re sweating. If you have to move at all, it’s perilous because it’s inside of that egg. We had inches at a time. But I typically like stuff like that because I don’t see myself as too precious to step into weird things. I sometimes second-guess myself after getting in it. I like being a little afraid of things and I like finding myself in situations where something comes out that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.”