By Dave Gil de Rubio | September 24, 2021
Clint Black considers himself lazy.
It’s a rather absurd statement considering what he did during the pandemic. In addition to performing on a regular livestream and launching Clint Black Cowboy Coffee, which is available on his website, he pitched and was cleared to host “Talking in Circles with Clint Black,” a TV show that is a behind-the-scenes conversation with two entertainers talking shop (Travis Tritt and Brad Paisley have already guested).
All this came on top of releasing 2020’s “Out of Sane,” his 13th studio outing. And now with live music venues eager to get back up and running, the Nashville resident is finding the 70 to 90 dates he did between late February and Christmas during a pre-coronavirus year is now packed through Christmas 2021. Black’s welcoming his return to the road.
“My booking agent, we renamed him rescheduling agent; and he did a great job of keeping things moved up just far enough in front of us so they might happen,” he says.
“Now I’m as busy as I like to be. I’m streaming stuff, getting a coffee company off the ground and getting a TV show done and then bam! We’re back on the road. That’s how I dealt with the shutdown and then suddenly, we’ve started back up and I still have a TV show and a coffee company.”
Far from complaining, the singer-songwriter is diving full bore into the remainder of a year that will find him initially doing nearly a two-hour show dubbed “An Evening With” that will hit fairs, festivals and a few casino dates through the end of October. After a quick break, the New Jersey native regroups with wife Lisa Hartman Black for the “Mostly Hits & The Mrs.” string of dates that will take them through the end of February.
And while he’s on the road, Black will be filling his free time creating stage videos for Hartman Black on his hard drives on the bus and mapping out lighting schemes. Not surprisingly, this nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic meant he spent most of 2019 holed up in his home studio working on “Out of Sane,” squeezing in 18-hour days when he wasn’t on the road playing roughly 70 dates that year.
“I had enough success to sustain me after the major label and also build a studio,” he says.
“I was able to learn more about engineering, and I can record anything I want without an engineer. I wouldn’t do a session, because I want things to move quickly. I know my studio inside and out, and there is a joy in that. Some people want to be able to take an old Chevy apart and put it back together. I can take my studio apart and put it back together, and that to me is the joy. That’s why the album is titled ‘Out of Sane.’ It starts out with sanity and a mind at work, and it ends up with a mad scientist out of sane just doing the science work. It seemed like a good title, and it fit well into 2020.”
The latest collection of songs finds Black sticking with the tried and true, working with longtime collaborator Hayden Nichols. After opening with the bluesy slow burner “Hell Bent,” Black switches gears into the twangy toe tapper “My Best Thinkin’” and the sentimental “America (Still In Love With You),” both penned with friend and fellow Nashville veteran Steve Wariner. Elsewhere, Black delivers a solid reading of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” (“It’s still one of the songs I can listen to when I’m overexposed to it and my ears are still happy.”)
And while he’s continued making music and touring, Black has expanded into TV and film roles.
Most recently, he and Hartman Black appeared in last year’s season of “The Masked Singer” as “Snow Owls,” competing as the series’ first duet competitors while riding in a mobile egg. As difficult an experience as it was, Black was happy coming out of the other end of it.
“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.”
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 6
Where: Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Avenue, Chandler
Cost: $48 to $78
Info: 480-782-2680, chandlercenter.org