Entertainment

Clint Black talks Jimmy Buffett, Merle Haggard

Clint Black will be at the IP Casino Resort on Friday at 8 p.m.
Clint Black will be at the IP Casino Resort on Friday at 8 p.m. Courtesy

Since he released his debut album “Killin’ Time” in 1989, country star Clint Black has always done things his way in the music business, racking up more than 21 No. 1 hits in the process.

Black will be bringing hits such as “A Better Man” and “Put Yourself in My Shoes” to Biloxi on Friday when he hits the IP Casino Resort.

And he is still doing things his way as he released his latest, “On Purpose,” on an indie label in 2015. It featured songs written either entirely by Black or with the help of Steve Wariner and Bill Anderson.

“I’ve always exercised complete control over my music, and it was a point of contention with RCA, despite our success together,” Black said in an interview with the Sun Herald. “RCA, along with the major labels I entered talks with, wanted to ‘pick songs’ for their artists and decide how the records will sound — I wrote all my hits, produced and co-produced everything from the third album on, and I decided that was good enough to make me the boss of my music.”

Black said his attitude toward his career does not necessarily mean he’s not willing to cooperate.

“I don’t mind being part of a team who has input, but that should be as far as it goes for people who don’t know an A minor from a B major 7,” he said.

Although Black has had great success as a songwriter, he said he is a big fan of other songwriters, including a certain native of Pascagoula.

“I have two favorites, if I have to do the short list — it’s Merle Haggard and James Taylor — but Jimmy Buffett is right in there and the list tries hard to grow from there,” he said.

His love of Haggard goes way back, as Black considers the late singer one of his biggest influences. He also took Haggard on the road with him as his opening act in the early 1990s and they played about 100 cities together.

“I got to spend a lot of time with him, as he’d stop by my bus and hang out before the shows, just the two of us,” he said. “We ended up writing a song together, and started a second one together, which my lead guitarist and I finished for my Christmas album — those are things that come as a bonus to making it in show biz because I never dreamed of that sort of thing happening — it would have been beyond possible in my mind.”

Black said Haggard, who died in April, will always be one of music’s most influential artists.

“If you ask most true country artists for just two names, male names, anyway, that represent country music, Haggard will be one of them,” he said. “His music will be a standard for all who study the genre.”

If you go

Clint Black

IP Casino Resort at 850 Bayview Ave. in Biloxi

8 p.m. Friday

Tickets start at $35 and are available at Ticketmaster.com.

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