This year marks the 25th anniversary of country legend Clint Black’s debut smash hit album “Killin’ Time.” Since then, a new wave of younger artists have come through the country music scene and provided plenty of competition along the way. But at 52, Black feels that he has never been better as a musician and continues to hone his craft.
“As a singer and guitarist, I feel like I’m in my prime right now,” he said. “I think as long as I feel that way, I’ll keep going. My vocal cords have never felt stronger, and I practice way more on guitar now than ever before. My fingers are crossed for continuing that trend.”
A country music singer-songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor, Black has had more than 30 singles on the U.S. Billboard country charts, 22 of which have reached No. 1. He also has released nine studio albums and several compilation albums. In 2003, Black founded his own record label, Equity Music Group.
Born in New Jersey in 1962, Black and his family moved to Texas, where his father had been raised. With music always present in the house, it’s no wonder that, by age 13, Black taught himself the harmonica and wrote his first song at age 14. Eventually, Black learned to play the guitar and, as a teenager, dropped out of high school to join his older brothers in a band before becoming a solo act.
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Initially drawn to a variety of musical genres, Black chose to focus on country music, in the style kept alive by George Jones and Merle Haggard. In 1989, Black’s debut album, “Killin’ Time,” was an instant success upon its release, establishing him as one of the biggest new stars in country music. The certified triple-platinum album spawned four consecutive No. 1 singles, including the title track “Killin’ Time,” “A Better Man,” “Nobody’s Home” and “Walkin’ Away.”
Black would go on to release six more studio albums throughout the 1990s, with the hits “Put Yourself in My Shoes,” “The Hard Way,” “No Time to Kill” and “Nothin’ but the Taillights.” Additional hits such as “Loving Blind,” “When My Ship Comes In,” “Like the Rain,” and duets like “A Bad Goodbye” with Wynonna Judd and “When I Said I Do” with his wife, actress Lisa Hartman, further established Black in the hearts of country music fans as a legend in his prime.
Throughout his close to three-decade career of recording and performing, Black has collaborated with a number of well-known artists, making quite a few friends in the process. Among his favorites are Haggard, Jones, Roy Rogers, David Crosby and Steve Wariner.
In 2013, Black released the CD “When I Said I Do,” a mix of re-recorded favorites plus a few new tracks. It was an opportunity for Black to share a little of the new music he had been working on through a partnership with Cracker Barrel restaurants.
As far as leaving a legacy one day, Black would above all hope that his songwriting might be what defines his greatness.
“I’ve worked very hard to write all of this music and keep up with my recording schedule, along with the pressure that came from the record companies to ‘not’ write my own songs,” he said. “I never thought after the success of ‘Killin’ Time’ that I would have to fight to keep writing my songs, but it happened. To this day, there are companies who would love to sign me to their label, if only I would let Nashville writers write my songs. Not going to happen.”