John Conlee- Traditional Country Still Lives Strong

Legendary singer John Conlee has amassed several timeless classics over a 30 plus year career, including “Rose Clored Glasses”, Lady Lay Down and Friday Night Blues. Showing no signs of slowing down, Conlee has a recent project out titled “Classic 2” The album contains some of his greatest hits including “Domestic Life” and “Mama’s Rocking Chair”, along with several new tunes that have been welcomed by a new generation of traditional country music fans, proving that true country music is still alive and well.

Musically Conlee has been influenced by people sing with a lot of soul, which is R&B music. Artist like Ray Charles, Etta James, BB King and Mavis Staples. Also, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Lefty Frizzell, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra have all been huge influences on him. Conlee listens to several different formats of music including Gospel. Conlee says in order for a particular song to peek his interest it has to have that soul element in the music.

Since the release of “Rose Colored Glasses” in 1978, John Conlee’s career has been going at a rapid speed with no plans of slowing down in the near future. Born and raised on a tobacco farm in Versailles, Kentucky, he began singing and playing guitar at the age of ten and later would begin singing tenor in a barbershop quartet.  One fascinating fact is that he worked for six years part time at the Duell-Clark funeral chapel where he became a licensed mortician. Although he no longer practices, he still renews his license yearly. After leaving the funeral home Conlee got the itch to get into broadcasting.

He got a job at a radio station which allowed him to turn the hobby of music into a career. Conlee moved to Nashville in 1971 to pursue a music career and would eventually sign with ABC Records in 1976. The “Backside of Thirty” which was written by Conlee would be released as the first single in 1976 and would have no commercial success. Conlee would release two more singles that were also big flops before finally hitting it big with the song that many consider his signature song “Rose Colored Glasses” in 1978.

The song would propel him to superstar status after reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot singles chart. His single “Backside of Thirty” was re-released in 1978. Conlee said this single would never have been re-released normally. However, after “Rose Colored Glasses” were released, the folks at radio started paying attention to “Rose Colored Glasses”. Stations had started asking ABC records to re-release which they eventually did. The song would end up going to number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart.

Country Music has meant a lot to Conlee. Not only has it given him a successful career, It’s also one of native genres of music in our country. All music has been influenced by different forms of music around the world, but country maybe maybe more native to America than any form of music. Conlee’s whole career started in Texas. This was due in large part to “Rose Colored Glasses” breaking in the Houston, Texas market back in 1978.

Texas is the one state that the band spends the most time in during a given year. This has been the case since day one.

You can keep up with John Conlee by visiting his website where you can view tour dates, discography and purchase merchandise.

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