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Rissi Palmer's A Country Music Rarity

Of the Oakland Press

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Rissi Palmer says she’s looking forward to the day when she isn’t asked constantly about being a black woman singing country music.

But for now — with her first single, “Country Girl,” scaling the charts — she certainly understands the fascination.

“I guess I felt really drawn to just the storytelling and the writing and the way these singers sang,” says Palmer, 26, who credits her parents — and particularly her mother, who grew up listening to country music alongside pop and R&B in Georgia — for her interest.

“My mom was a black woman and my father was a black man. They just were very open-minded to music, and they didn’t feel any compulsion to listen to one music over the other just because they were black. That’s how I grew up and that’s my attitude about music, too.”

Palmer is particularly looking forward to Oct. 23, when her self-titled debut album is released. After that, she hopes, there will be more attention for her songs — she co-wrote eight of the 12 tracks — and her singing than on her pigmentation.

“You can talk about me being black as much as you want,” she says, “but if the music isn’t there, if the music doesn’t back it up, then it means nothing. I think that once the album comes out and people are able to hear it, it won’t be so much, ‘Hey Rissi, how’s being black? How’s that working out for you?’ “I think that whole thing will stop and people will start to talk about the music.”

Rissi Palmer performs at 4 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 30) at the Great Lakes Chili Cookoff in downtown Plymouth. Yankeeville and Austin Scott will also perform. Admission is free. For information, visit www.chilicookoff.com.

Web Site: www.chilicookoff.com

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