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Kris Kristofferson digs into himself for songs these days

For Journal Register Newspapers

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Even at this late stage of his life and career, Kris Kristofferson has found something new to sing about.

Like its two immediate predecessors, Kristofferson's latest album, "Feeling Mortal" -- which was produced by Detroit native Don Was and came out in January, takes a different and more personal tact than much of the singer, songwriter, actor and activist's previous work.

"Every album I've made has been about making sense of my life at the time," explains Kristofferson, 76. "I used to do records about a year about with music covering issues of human rights, military aggression or whatever was going on in the world.

"(But) these last (three) records have been more reflective about my own life."

Kristofferson certainly has plenty to look back and reflect on. That includes The Highwaymen, the all-star country group he formed in 1985 with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson -- in whose company Kristofferson jokes that he "always felt like the janitor who got on the stage somehow by mistake." Cash and Jennings are gone, of course, and as far as Kristofferson is concerned "I don't think you'd ever have The Highwaymen thing again."

He wouldn't mind doing something similar again with Nelson, however, and maybe a couple of their cronies.

"There was talk about it," Kristofferson recalls. "For some reason I think management and stuff like that, and different agents, stopped it. But they were talking about it -- I think it was, like, Hank (Williams) Jr. and George Jones, maybe Merle Haggard.

"Hell, I'd be up for it. I just think it's one of those deals where all the managements have to get along, and that's not easy, sometimes. We were lucky it worked with The Highwaymen."

Kris Kristofferson performs Friday, April 19, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $39-$55. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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