Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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MUSIC:

Country brings Tillis duo together

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Pam Tillis

IF YOU GO

Who: Pam Tillis and Mel Tillis

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Cannery, North Las Vegas

Tickets: $19.95; 507-5757 or pamtillis.com

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Beyond the Sun

Pam Tillis rebelled early in her music career and rejected the legacy of her father, country legend Mel Tillis.

She sang rock and R&B. She sang with a jazz band in San Francisco. Her 1983 debut, “Above and Beyond the Doll of Cutey,” leaned more toward pop than country.

“When I started out I was a little concerned about how I was ever going to come out from under my father’s shadow,” Tillis, 52, says from her Nashville home. “I love all kinds of music and I dabbled in everything.”

Songwriting led her back to her true calling.

“I just let my heart lead me back home,” she says.

Since rediscovering her country roots she has sold a few million records, had several No. 1 hits, and won a couple of Grammys and a few Country Music Awards.

And she gets to perform occasionally with her father, including Saturday at the Cannery in North Las Vegas.

Between the father and daughter, there have been enough hit records to keep them singing for days.

“Whenever somebody can afford both of us we’ll work together,” Pam Tillis says. “We enjoy it but it’s a little different from when I’m out on my own and don’t play second banana. We hit the highlights. Between us we have 50 years of hits.”

She says most of what she learned from her dad was indirect.

“I got a strong work ethic from him, a deep love of music,” she says. “He never taught me to play the guitar, but the way he conducts himself with people was one of the best lessons I learned.”

She has been in the business long enough to see the changes.

“The main thing is, the whole record business has changed — the Internet and downloads have changed everything,” she says. “It has shaken the town and all the pieces haven’t settled down yet. People are scrambling to figure it all out.”

She’s seen big changes in radio, too.

“There are plenty of people who love stone-cold country. There are people who love bluegrass. People love a lot of things that you don’t actually hear on the radio. You have to know where to find them. Country music is a lot broader than country radio.”

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