A renowned singer and songwriter, who also happens to be the daughter of a country music legend, is coming to Salina. Pam Tillis, the daughter of Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis and multi-media artist Doris Tillis, is coming to the Stiefel theatre.
Pam Tillis sidestepped any notions of nepotism and other “isms” that women in show business often face and carved out her own unique space as an entertainer. She is a a singer/songwriter whose compositions have been covered in Country, R&B, Bluegrass and Rock. She is also an actress with a long list of film, TV, and stage credits.
Tillis’ 1991 debut country album, Put Yourself In My Place, went gold and yielded two No. 1 and two Top 5 singles. Her next three albums – Homeward Looking Angel, Sweetheart’s Dance and Greatest Hits, were all certified platinum. She achieved six No.1 songs during the ‘90s Country explosion, including “Shake the Sugar Tree,” “Mi Vida Loca,” “When You Walk In The Room,” “In Between Dances,” “Don’t Tell Me What To Do,” and her signature song, “Maybe It Was Memphis.”
Tillis is currently finding a lot of satisfaction mentoring young performers and artists, including those in her all-female acoustic trio, The Rose Rustlers (Haley Sullivan and Carson McKee). “I love mentoring,” she says. “I find myself working with so many Millennial musicians now. They’re accomplished players; none of them need help in the talent department. I’m just trying to pass on some of the things I’ve learned from 30 years of touring and how to navigate a very tough industry.”
Tillis’ latest album, 2020’s Looking For A Feeling, finds her doubling down on one of her first loves – songwriting. She wrote seven of the 11 tracks. Some of her most formative musical years were in the late ‘70s – and the album reflects that ‘70s Country Rock flavor. The many threads of her influences were loosely woven together by hit Country writer/producer Jimmy Ritchey (Mark Chesnutt, Jake Owen) on some tunes and Nashville rocker/producer Joe Pisapia (k.d. lang, Guster) on others.
The music muse is still providing inspiration and accolades. Tillis is one of the 2022 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame nominees. “It’s a huge honor,” she says. “My dad is in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He would be so proud.” After more than three decades of doing what she loves, Tillis jokes, “I guess I’m safely past the ‘flash-in-the-pan’ stage of my career. What keeps me going is learning new things, wearing new hats and trying to stay relevant. I’m still standing, and I’m still grateful.”
Pam Tillis is coming to the Stiefel Theatre on Saturday, June 24th. Tickets go on sale this Friday.