‘Grits and Glamour’

Article Published: Mar. 22, 2012 | Modified: Mar. 31, 2012
‘Grits and Glamour’

From left, country music sensations Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis will perform March 30 at the Walker Center in Wilkesboro, as part of their ‘Grits and Glamour Tour.’

Photo submitted

For more than thirty years, Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan followed similar, but separate careers.

The paths of the two country music greats merge on their “Grits and Glamour Tour.” Tillis and Morgan will perform together at the Walker Center in Wilkesboro on March 30 at 8 p.m.

Girls raised in the south, Tillis and Morgan were daughters of country music stars and grew up watching their fathers perform on the Grand Ole Opry. They each appeared on the Opry as a child and continued on to have their own illustrious music careers.

Tillis is the winner of three Country Music Association awards, two Grammy awards and an International Bluegrass Music Association award. Since 1990, she has charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard country charts, including “Maybe It Was Memphis” and “Mi Vida Loca.”

In 2000, she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, seven years before her father, Mel Tillis, received recognition from the famed establishment.

Morgan was only 13 when she made her first major appearance in 1975, singing “Paper Roses” with her dad, country star George Morgan, on the Grand Ole Opry. In 1984, she made history as the youngest person ever to become a member of Opry. Morgan started registering hits around the same time as Tillis, achieving 14 Top-10 songs, including “Watch Me” and “Five Minutes.”

Tillis and Morgan have shared the stage before, touring together in the ’90s, but “Grits and Glamour” is a much more collaborative presentation than they’ve given in the past. The equally beautiful women both sit on the stage, provide harmonies for one another and charm the audience with stories about their songs.

The links between Tillis and Morgan, on stage and off, have made their current tour a success and have led to continued performances of their combined sets for the past two years.

“On the professional side, I think we’re making great music,” Pam Tillis said.

Tillis loves to sing harmonies, especially with Lorrie Morgan, who she called “a great singer.” Their connectivity on stage isn’t just due to their passion for music, but it is also related to the personal bonds amongst the women.

“What I most appreciate is that we have kind of unique lives, and it’s hard to find somebody to who you can relate as much as another entertainer,” Tillis said. “They know the ups and downs of it and the pressures and the joys of it.”

It’s really nice to talk to somebody who has some of the same challenges, Tillis said, like struggles with the record industry and coming up in the business as a female.

“It’s better than it’s ever been, but it’s still different than it is for a guy in the business,” she said. “It just is.”

Tillis said there are still a few hurdles for women. For instance, there aren’t as many women in power positions in Nashville as she’d like to see, but she thinks the climate is improving.

“Women get more respect from the industry, they get more credibility,” she said. “Women are headlining, writing songs, producing, doing all that stuff.”

In her dad’s era, two women wouldn’t even be played back to back on the radio. Today, two women are appearing on the same stage and empowering other women.

“We try not to let it get too estrogen-heavy, because we love our male fans, too, but we do present a certain amount of solidarity with the women,” she said.

Tillis and Morgan overcame the obstacles set forth before them and exceeded their own expectations of their careers. The response of the audience, full of women and men who have followed Tillis and Morgan for the past few decades, affirms it every night they put on a show.

“I think that’s one of our biggest accomplishments … to have this 20-plus year relationship with our fans,” she said. “I imagine I can speak for both for us and say how fortunate we feel. You’ve got to work your booty off to pull that off, but I tell you, it’s been worth it.”

With today’s music more disposable and fleeting and pop culture moving so much faster, Tillis said she and Morgan are proud of their longevity. It’s been hard work, but now they get to sit back, play their music with ease and let the stories flow.

A limited number of tickets are still available for Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan’s “Grits and Glamour” show at the Walker Center.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Walker Center box office at (336) 838-6260 or (walker.boxoffice@wilkescc.edu)

The Walker Center is located on the campus of Wilkes Community College. For more information, visit http://www.walkercenteronline.org. For more on Pam Tillis, visit http://www.pamtillis.com.

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