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Sammy Kershaw to perform in Hagerstown

June 25, 1997

By Teri Johnson

Staff Writer

When Sammy Kershaw isn't raising goose bumps in his audience, the country singer is raising corn, soybeans and alfalfa hay for his horses.

Kershaw is the kind of guy who isn't happy unless he's working.

"I live with blisters on my hands," he said in a telephone interview from his tour bus, en route to a show in Illinois. "When I get off the road, I work on the farm. I don't even go into town."

It's been a busy time for Kershaw, 39, who lives outside Nashville, Tenn.

Last week the Cajun singer found himself at the dentist's office for follow-up surgery to a procedure started three months ago, a visit he said he had been putting off. The surgery forced him to cancel a day at Fan Fair, a weeklong event in Nashville where country music devotees can meet their favorite performers.

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Kershaw made it to his fan club breakfast party, where he previewed the songs that will be on his next album, due out in October.

Local fans can hear some of those songs when Kershaw and his seven-member band, Kadillac, perform Friday, June 27, at North Hagerstown High School auditorium.

The Cajun singer, whose No. 1 hits include "She Don't Know She's Beautiful," "I Can't Reach Her Anymore" and "National Working Woman's Holiday," will give shows at 6 and 8:30 p.m.

"We hope they'll have fun with us," he said. "We don't want anyone going to sleep."

With crowd-pleasing hits like "Third Rate Romance," "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" and "Vidalia," there's not much chance of anyone dozing off.

Kershaw, known for writing and singing songs that appeal to ordinary folks, said he considers himself an average person.

"I've never changed," said Kershaw, a father of five who once was a remodeling supervisor for Wal-Mart. "I'm the same guy I was 10 years ago - I can't get into the star thing."

"Fit to Be Tied Down," his current single from the album "Politics, Religion and Her," affirms his sense of commitment. Kershaw said the song might be an autobiographical look at his 12-year marriage to his wife, Kim, but it's subject to interpretation.

"My personal story is mine," Kershaw said. "I let fans live their own story in the music."

Kershaw, born into a poor family in Abbeville, La., began working as a roadie for a regional performer at age 12, after his father died.

He tours year-round and will be doing 150 to 170 shows this year. When he's not touring, he unwinds by working.

"I build barns, plow fields and remodel houses," he said.

When he gets the time, he enjoys playing golf, fishing and hunting. A 15-point buck that he shot on his property set a state record last year in Tennessee.

Kershaw, a racing fan, also is owner and sponsor of the No. 48 Ford driven by Randy Porter in the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division.

"We're doing better than last year," Kershaw said. "You've gotta crawl before you can walk; it's kind of like it is with records."

Kershaw recently started smoking cigars, which has helped him cut down on cigarettes. He used to smoke three packs a day.

"I'm still smoking, but not inhaling," he said. "It's helping me a lot."

Kershaw said he hasn't had a vacation in six years, and the cigars help him escape.

"They let me take three or four vacations a day," he said.



 Albums:

"Don't Go Near the Water" (1991)

"Haunted Heart" (1993)

"Feelin' Good Train" (1994)

"Christmas Time's A Comin' " (1994)

"The Hits/Chapter 1" (1995)

"Politics, Religion and Her" (1996)

Compilations:

"Runnin' With Your Heart," on the NASCAR tribute album "Runnin' Wide Open"

"If I Fell," on "Come Together, America Salutes the Beatles"

"Fire and Rain," on "Red, Hot & Country"

"I Know a Little," on "Skynyrd Frynds"

"I'm Movin' On," on " `The Beverly Hillbillies' Soundtrack"

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