Like father, like daughter: Mel and Pam Tillis coming to Treasure Island
Family, country and Christmas come together for an upcoming show at Treasure Island Resort & Casino.
Country Music Hall of Famer Mel Tillis performs alongside daughter Pam Tillis on Sunday Dec. 16.
Performing for over 50 years, he has not only made his mark as an entertainer but also a successful songwriter. His hits include "Detroit City," "Ruby, Don't Take your Love to Town" and "Coca-Cola Cowboy."
He has written well over 1,000 songs with 600 of them being recorded by major stars including Bobby Bare, Kenny Rogers and Brenda Lee.
As the saying goes, the apple doesn't fall from the tree, and hits like "Shake the Sugar Tree," "Maybe It Was Memphis" and "Cleopatra, Queen of Denial" hurled Pam Tillis into stardom.
"What I'm doing is country -- but not necessarily the kind that you hear on the airwaves these days," Tillis said. "Now, I admire a lot of this music -- after all, I've sung rock, pop, R&B, and jazz, so I'm hardly a purist. But what I'm hearing now sounds often more like pop than country to me. I just seriously felt called by that old different drummer to something a little bit more like the country I remember from my formative years, the country music of my youth."
Growing up, she thought of herself as "just a singer" -- not thinking of it in terms of a career. "That is just who I was," she said.
Not wanting to ride in on the coat-tails of her famous father, she took the time to discover who she was and what she could do as an artist.
The two didn't start teaming up until Pam had reached success of her own. She earned the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist of the year award in 1994 thanks to her album "Sweetheart's Dance" and her No. 1 hit "Mi Vida Loca."
Two years later, Tillis found herself and her tour bus heading to Branson, Mo., where her father had a continuously running country show. She became a regular addition to that showcase.
"We called it 'Super Tuesday' and filled out his 2,000-seat theater on a weekly basis. It was a wonderful way to reconnect," she said.
In 2002, she released "It's All Relative," affectionately calling it "the Dad album." The record is a tribute to her father.
"It happened so organically," Tillis said. "A lot of artists do something like this and it usually has something to do with what they loved growing up - all that started at home for me, so it was an obvious thing for me to."
The two blue-eyed country singers will perform a Christmas concert in Red Wing showcasing both their individual strengths and close the show unified on stage.
"We fit a lot in, between us we have over 50 years of country music," she said. "We always hit the highlights and will also do some of our favorite Christmas songs."
Tillis admits "Silent Night" is one of her all-time most loved traditional Christmas songs. "But dad's version of 'Peace on Earth' is very special to me too," she added.
She will open the show with her acoustic trio. Her father's nine-piece band will add overall contrast. Brother/son, singer/songwriter Sonny Tillis also will appear.
"The longer we do this, the deeper our appreciation grows," she said. "We know it is a real gift to make music with our dad and even our family, we don't take it for granted - it's a blessing."
At a glance...
Who: Pam and Mel Tillis
When: 5 p.m. Sunday Dec. 16
Where: Event Center, Treasure Island
Cost: $25, $35
More info: 877-849-1640 or www.ticasino.com