Sammy Kershaw

October 11, 2000

Sammy Kershaw

By MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer
If you go

Sunday, Oct. 15, 4 and 7 p.m.

The Maryland Theatre

21 S. Potomac St.


Tickets cost $30 and $35, plus service and mailing charges.

For information, call 301-790-2000.

Sammy Kershaw has worked hard to be able to kick back.

"Right now is just a good time for me. I can do whatever I want to do," said the singer, who stepped into the country music scene in 1991.



But he's not going to slow down forever.

"I can't sit still for long," said Kershaw in a telephone interview from Nashville, Tenn.

The Kaplan, La., native took on adult responsibilities as an 11-year-old when his father died. The oldest of four children, he went to school, worked several jobs in the afternoon and played music at roadhouses at night.

He turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with the pressures of his accelerated maturity.

"It wasn't the prettiest thing," Kershaw said, but if he could go back in time, he said he wouldn't change anything.

In 1988, he dropped his damaging habits cold turkey, set music aside and took a job as a remodeling supervisor at Wal-Mart.

But he didn't stay out of music for long.

In 1990, representatives from Mercury Records launched his career after hearing a tape. "Don't Go Near the Water," his first album, went platinum after its 1991 release. Two years later, he released "Haunted Heart," which featured his first No. 1 song, "She Don't Know She's Beautiful."

His mother introduced him to the sounds of Hank Williams Sr., which he loved. But he enjoyed other styles of music too, and that eclectic taste is reflected in his ninth album, "Sammy Kershaw Covers the Hits," released about three months ago.

"I just listened to so many kinds of music ever since I was a little boy," said Kershaw, 42.

The 10 on his new album are some of his favorites, including "More Than I Can Say," "Chevy Van," "Fire and Rain" and "I Got a Name."

"It wasn't a planned thing. We were just kind of in between recording deals. It was kind of a vacation thing," Kershaw said. "Most of the songs were done in five minutes."

Kershaw tours from April through mid-November, and will make a stop at The Maryland Theatre Sunday, Oct. 15. Many of his shows this year have been at festivals and fairs.

"I love outdoor shows. I'm just a big outdoorsman," Kershaw said. When he performs indoors, "I feel like I'm chained or something."

Known for his upbeat songs, Kershaw said he always gives his audiences a high-energy show. He likes to bring concertgoers up with his fast-paced songs, but he's not afraid to make them cry, too.

"I much prefer doing ballads," Kershaw said.

In his 1999 album, "Maybe Not Tonight," Kershaw paired with Lorrie Morgan for the title song. He hopes it's not his last duet, listing Merle Haggard, George Jones and Loretta Lynn among those with whom he'd like to sing.

He and Tammy Wynette talked several times about recording, but they never got the chance before her death in 1998.

"I'll probably regret that for the rest of my life," Kershaw said.

In his private life, Kershaw has invested time in children.

The father of two daughters and three sons ranging in age from 6 to 25, he created the Sammy Kershaw Foundation Of Acadiana in Kaplan. The organization sponsors concerts, golf and softball tournaments to raise money for sick and abused children.

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