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Kellie Pickler in the Panhandle: Country artist to perform at Pickin' in the Panhandle

September 01, 2013|By AMY DULEBOHN | amyc@herald-mail.com
  • Kellie Pickler will perform Saturday at Pickin' in the Panhandle.
Submitted photo

INWOOD, W.Va. — Kellie Pickler is living her dream. The country music singer has been “livin’ on the road,” she said, since 2006, when she was a popular contestant on “American Idol.”

She was in Virginia recently, getting ready to perform at an oudoor show, she said during a telephone interview. 

“I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love singing,” Pickler said. “I loved Dolly Parton and I just wanted to grow up and do what she does. I love Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. Those women of country music really inspired me to do what I do. It inspired me to put my life in the form of a song and travel the world and sing about it.”

Pickler will headline Pickin’ in the Panhandle, the annual three-day music festival and barbecue competition. The event runs Friday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 8. Pickler will perform at 9 Saturday night. This year, Pickin’ in the Panhandle moves to Shiley Acres in Inwood, from its previous venue at the Lazy A Campground in Hedgesville, W.Va. 

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Pickin’ is predominately a bluegrass event, but also includes newgrass, Americana, country, and rockabilly. Pickler said she’s excited about checking out the festival.

 “I love bluegrass. I’ve never recorded a bluegrass album (but) I’ve talked about it,” she said. “I’m excited about coming there and seeing what it’s all about, and of course, hearing some good bluegrass music. It’ll be fun.”

In the years since she first took “American Idol,” by storm as the small town girl from Albemarle, N.C., with the big voice, Pickler has gained fame outside of country music. Earlier this year, she and her dance partner, Derek Hough, won the 16th season of “Dancing with the Stars.” 

“I really enjoyed (‘Dancing with the Stars’),” Pickler said. “I actually found a new passion, and something else I loved doing. I had no idea that I would enjoy doing that, because I’d never done it before. I just started working with a ballet teacher. I really want to continue dancing for my own self, just for fun. Of course, I’m not gonna go star in ‘The Nutcracker’ or anything,” she said with a laugh.

Pickler was also named this summer in OK Magazine’s Hottest Bodies Summer Special. She said she was not expecting the honor. 

“There’s a lot of bodies out there, so I was surprised,” she said. 

For her, healthful eating and exercise are key to maintaining a beach-ready body.

“I try to eat organic and fresh foods. I’m a vegetarian. I’m not an avid workout person but I think if you can find little things that work for you, it’s nice,” she said.

When she’s not touring the country singing her hits including “Red High Heels,” “I Wonder,” “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind” and “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” Pickler is active with the USO. 

“The USO is by far one of my favorite organizations, if not my favorite, to work with. There have been several tours when I’ve (gone) overseas and I’ve met several soldiers that don’t know anything about country music, and obviously don’t watch ‘American Idol’ or don’t know who I am ... but they’re just glad something from the United States is there,” she said.

Picker made headlines in the summer of 2012  when she shaved her blonde locks to support her friend, Summer, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Pickler said her friend is nearing the end of her cancer treatments. 

“Summer is doing great. She gets to wrap up her chemo in October, which we’re both really excited about,” she said. “I know she’s more excited than I am because chemo doesn’t make you feel good.”

Besides touring and dancing, Pickler is finishing up her fourth album, the first with Black River Entertainment, which she said is set to drop in November.

 “I’ve been in the studio recording it and I’ve been out on the road touring. As soon as the album comes out, I’ll be out on the road promoting that. I’m really excited about what 2014 has in store. I want to enjoy the rest of the year while I can, but I am excited about moving forward in my music,” she said.

She anticipated a preview of her new music at Saturday’s show. “I do songs from my first three albums, and ... I’ve been throwing in some songs from the new album,” she said.  “I’m just really starting to get new music to my band, so they’re learning the new stuff now so hopefully we’ll have even more new songs to perform when we come there.”

If you go ...        

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