Kenny Rogers fondly remembers the days he'd his annual Christmas tour would hunker down Detroit's Fox Theatre. "We used to work there a week or 10 days in a row at Christmas time," the veteran singer recalls.
And while that might not be the case anymore, he still feels that even one night of Yuletide music is worthwhile.
"Christmas has always been for me a very special time of the year, I think because my mom made it that way," says Rogers, 74. "(The show) gives me a chance to do songs I don't do the rest of the year and songs that are important and have a great time and tell some stories and do a show that's bigger, if you will, than what I normally do.
"And we include a local kids group and a local choir in each city, so there's a chance for a kid to say, 'Hey, I like that. I want to be in the business, too,' 'cause that's kind of how I started."
This year's Christmas tour -- his 31st -- comes at the end of an eventful year for Rogers, which saw his autobiography, "Luck Or Something Like It," come out in October and hit the New York Times Best Seller chart. He also released a new concert album, "Amazing Grace, Christmas Live!," performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival toured Asia, New Zealand and Australia, and served as the Country Music Hall of Fame's Artist in residence. He's five songs into a new album he hopes to release in 2013, along with a book of his photography
This year, meanwhile, marks the 30th anniversary of "Islands in the Stream," Rogers chart-topping duet with Dolly Parton -- a song Rogers still calls "such a total fluke."
"I had been recording with (producer) Barry Gibb," Rogers remembers, "and I had been singing that song by myself for four days, and I finally said, 'Barry, I don't even like the song anymore.' And he said, 'You know what we need? We need Dolly Parton.'
"It was an epiphany...We got her, and the song was never the same after that."
Kenny Rogers "Christmas and Hits" show, with Billy Dean, plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $38.50-$75.50. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.
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