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Christopher Cross to perform his hits in Pa.

September 29, 2012|By AMY DULEBOHN | amyc@herald-mail.com
  • Christopher Cross, whos best known for Sailing and Arthurs Theme, will perform Saturday night at H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University.
Submitted photo

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — He won five Grammys in 1981, the same year he picked up a Golden Globe and an Oscar, but Christopher Cross makes it clear that his biggest accomplishment is being a father of three.

"(My children) are what I'm most proud of. I've tried to raise three responsible citizens of the world and they're doing well," he said during a telephone interview from his New York home.

But, he said, the accolades aren't bad, either.

"The Grammys are wonderful because they're a music award," he said. "At that point in time, musicians weren't really winning Oscars. It's pretty special because I wasn't expecting to win anything like that ever because pop musicians just really weren't doing anything like that."

More than 30 years later, the awards remain on display.

"They're cool looking. But I have them in my house on a shelf with pictures of my kids. I try to keep it in context," he said.

Cross will give fans a taste of the music that spurred those awards Saturday, Oct. 6, at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University. He will open for pop group Little River Band.

"It's a good era match, so I think that the people that come to hear (Little River Band) will enjoy what I do and vice versa," he said.

In addition to playing songs such as "Sailing," "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," from the smash 1980 move "Arthur" starring Liza Minelli and the late Dudley Moore, "Never Be The Same," "Think of Laura," and others, Cross, 61, promises to give fans a taste of some of his lesser-known music, as well.

"I think it's irresponsible of an artist not to play the songs that people really know well and really come for ... but I take the opportunity in these live shows to showcase other material because I am equally as proud of it and it's a little more obscure," he said. "I have a new album that was released last year called ‘Dr. Faith,' and we'll play some things from there, too.

"Dr. Faith" was Cross' first album of original material that he released since 1998. Why the delay?

"I got a divorce after 18 years of marriage, so there was a lot of personal stuff," he said. "I don't know if I shut down a little bit, but I was too emotionally distracted to really focus on my work. Once I got the divorce settled and got out on my own, after about a year, I got very prolific and really have been ever since. I think I'm more prolific now than ever."

Prolific indeed, as Cross noted that he and his writing partner, Rob Meurer, have about 16 songs ready for a release.

"We may release it in pieces, the new (musical business) model is to release things on iTunes a little at a time. We may choose that idea over an album, per se," he said.

Cross said he started writing music as a teenager, and still loves being a songwriter.

"As you get older, it gets harder and harder to write because your watermark gets higher. It's work. but I enjoy it," he said.

Cross has also recorded a Christmas album, "Christmas Time is Here," which will be released on Sony this year. He said that it is a mix of traditional carols and new material penned with Meurer.

"It's acoustic guitar, upright bass, acoustic orchestra. I think it's a really nice seasonal album that I tried to make very listenable. A lot of people do Christmas albums and they try to do something really stylistically different than anybody else, and sometimes they're overproduced and just too far left of what you want to sit and listen to by the fire. I really tried hard to make something that you can put on in the background while you bake cookies," he said.

While he keeps busy with his music, Cross's three children still figure prominently into his life. His oldest son, Justin, 37, is in the restaurant business in Birmingham, Ala. His second son, Rain, 23, lives and goes to school in Austin, Texas, where he is studying jazz guitar. Daughter Madison, 20, is a student at New York University in the school for film, theater and acting.

After living in Los Angeles for 30 years, Texas native Cross said he moved to Austin two years ago to be with Rain, and he also keeps a home in New York to be in close proximity to Madison.

"I traveled so much when I was young, I can't say I was really around that much," he said. "I was out making a living and doing my thing, so this is a time when I'm a lot more focused on (my kids)."

Aside from writing music and spending time with family, Cross, who said he does 50 to 60 shows a year, said he would like to do more.

"I'm always looking for opportunities to tour. I think the future for ‘heritage artists,' as we're sometimes called, is combining a tour with other artists. Like what we're doing with Little River Band, but on a larger scale," he said, noting that the poor economy is the culprit behind the lack of touring availability.

"The business has really slowed down. (The economy has) certainly affected the touring business. The last couple years, the promoters have to be very cautious about making the commitment to buy an act for a theater," he said, which can be difficult for an artist to remain viable.

"Ironically, (touring is) the only way to make any money anymore. With the downloading from the Internet and with the paradigm shift of the business, there's really no money in selling records anymore. It's just in playing live," he said.

Still, Cross considers himself fortunate.

"We have real devoted fans and a lot of younger people come to the shows because they may have learned about the music through their parents," he said.

"Even though my career hasn't sustained the level it was in the beginning, I established a name that has sustained. (Music is) what I love to do, and so I'm enjoying it now more than ever," he said.



If you go:

WHAT: Christopher Cross and Little River Band

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m.

WHERE: H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University, off Bucks Drive, Shippensburg, Pa.

COST: $39 to $59

CONTACT: Go to www.luhrscenter.com or call 717-477-7469



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