Black gives back: Country star to play charity event


CALIFORNIAN: Black gives back: Country star to play charity event By JIM DAIL - For The Californian | Posted: May 12, 2010

There's no denying that Clint Black has led quite a life and had a great deal of success ---- and not just as a singer.
He's sold more than 20 million records, had numerous No. 1 hits on the Billboard charts, written 156 songs and even tried his hand as an actor.
In fact, his latest project involves film ---- the role of Toby in "Flicka 2."
"I play a ranch foreman, which I know is a big stretch," he laughed.
But he is also quite involved with the community and charity, which brings him to South Coast Winery on Saturday to help raise money for Shriners Hospital as part of the Rhythm on the Vine series. Singer Stephanie Mills will perform Friday night.
Thanks to Shriners Hosptial, more than a million children have received state of the art medical care at no cost to them. In fact, Shriners Hospital for Children provides 80 percent of the prosthetic limbs in Los Angeles County .  It's no surprise to see Black on the stage for a charity event because Black has been an active participant when it comes to giving back.  "I'm very involved with the International Rett Syndrome Foundation," he said. "We lost my niece, Cortney, to this disease so I am very active in trying to help find a cure for it." 

As for Shriners' Hospital, he has not been that involved with it, but he didn't hesitate to join forces with the hospital.  "They gave me a call and that got it going," he said. "What an amazing organization. To think that a million kids have been able to get care. You see the kids get cured, you see that there is a place for the families and no one gets turned away, no matter how much money they have." 
It's part of a fundamental belief in the power of people.  "There are so many great causes," he said. "It's about what you do in the community that dwarfs what the nation or the government can do. Individually, you can make a difference."
As for his career, there's no doubt he loves not only writing songs but performing on stage. "I always make time to write," Black said. "When I started making records I was determined to write every song. That's been hard work."  Black began his career in a big way with the 1989 release of "Killin' Time." The album featured five No. 1 records, all of which he wrote or co-wrote. And the hits just kept coming.  "I learned a lot about the power of songs," he said. "People will tell me that a certain song had an impact on them. The same thing happened to me."  He was and still is an avid music collector.

"I have thousands of songs, boxes of albums and I'm still always collecting," he said. "The music is so valuable to me. So, what it meant to me I realize, and I realize that some people get the same thing out of my music."  In talking to Black it becomes immediately clear that he is quite humble, despite having every reason to not be.
"I've written 156 songs and that to me is incredible," he said. "I had a friend who wrote 100 songs and to me that was remarkable. It's almost unreal that I've written as many as I have."
And if the idea of stardom seems like the motivation for most musician, that's certainly not the case with Black. In the late 1990s, he shut down his music when he left his RCA, his label for a decade, and took a hiatus. What emerged was his own company for himself and other artists that was "artist friendly."

"I had the opportunity to go back to the big labels, but I wanted to have my own label and I'd talked about it a long time," he said. "We found the right guy to run it and so that's where Equity came from."
So whether talking about record labels, songwriting, or acting, Black has many accomplishments, including being a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
"The way I was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry was during an anniversary show," he said. "Everyone was there. I looked in one place and there was Jerry Reed and over there were The Jordanaires and over there Connie Smith and Porter Wagoner. I was so exhausted from the fun and all the stories that all these legends told about the Opry. I really do feel honored to be a part of that tradition."
Whatever he is up to, it is clear music is still number one."I'm still making music, still growing as a singer and a songwriter and a guitarist," he said. "I still love being on stage. I'm doing what I love to do."

Rhythm on the Vine Music & Wine Festival
* Stephanie Mills -- gates at 5 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday
* Clint Black -- gates at 5 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa,
34843 Rancho California Road
, Temecula