Charley Pride includes Red Deer on his Canadian tour

Fans of classic country will be thrilled that one of the ‘legends’ is making a Red Deer stop May 23rd.

CLASSIC SOUNDS - Singer Charley Pride performs at the Centrium in Red Deer on May 23rd

CLASSIC SOUNDS - Singer Charley Pride performs at the Centrium in Red Deer on May 23rd

Fans of classic country will be thrilled that one of the ‘legends’ is making a Red Deer stop May 23rd. Celebrating over 50 years in country music, Charley Pride plays the Centrium with showtime at 2 p.m.

The Country Music Hall of Famer and Grammy winner has a catalogue of chart-topping songs including Kiss An Angel Good Morning, Mountain of Love, Crystal Chandelier and Kaw-Liga to mention a few of his more than 36 number one hits.

This past month, Pride was honoured with the release of Neal McCoy’s Pride: A Tribute to Charley Pride: Deluxe Edition.

The project is a 13-cut CD that pays tribute to McCoy’s mentor. In the early 80s, Pride gave McCoy the opportunity to open his shows, earning the young singer his own record deal and subsequently a series of hit singles.

As Pride told McCoy all those years ago, “If you put on a great show and be nice to people, you’ll last a long time in this business.

“I like the good job he did on them,” explains Pride of McCoy’s CD. “He’s a very fine young man; he’s very talented,” he adds, pointing out that McCoy actually opened for Pride for some six years of touring.

These days, Pride is excited about hitting the road again, and delights in putting together a show that reflects his storied career. His latest CD, Choices, was released in 2011.

It marked his first new studio album since 2006’s Pride & Joy: A Gospel Music Collection. He’s currently lining up tunes for his next project, which will include collaboration with Randy Jackson of American Idol fame. “He wants to do an album, and I’d like to as well – we’d also like it to coincide it with the movie that we are trying to get done.”

Production on a biopic of Pride was initially announced back in the mid-2000s, and was set to be a done deal by 2008 with the title role going to Terrence Howard. But Howard eventually moved onto other things, and then there were talks with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson to play Pride. “I met Howard and everything was set to go, but there was a writers’ strike in Hollywood,” he recalls. The project has essentially been stuck in production limbo since.

Pride would love to see it move forward, noting other similar films about singers tend to find audiences and garner plenty of critical acclaim – Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash and Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles received all kinds of accolades in Walk the Line and Ray respectively, as did Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn in Coalminer’s Daughter.

“Lots of them have gotten Academy Awards out of it,” he laughs. But aside from the stalled project, Pride remains brightly optimistic, as he seems to about much of life.

“We’re trying to recoup everything and get things going again – and do whatever it takes to get the movie done.”

But at the end of the day, it’s mainly about the music.

And Pride, 77, couldn’t be happier about how things are going in that department – he’s about to head over to Britain for a string of shows before coming to Canada. “My fans say my voice sounds better than it ever did,” he says with unmistakable gratitude. He recalls hearing Billy Daniels sing That Old Black Magic when he was 65. “I remember thinking, wow that voice is just booming. I thought if when I’m 65 and my voice is like that, I’ll be a blessed man.

“Here I am, some years later, and people are saying my voice is better than it used to be,” he chuckles, adding that he quit smoking and drinking years ago which has likely helped.

He remembers being in Hawaii having a smoke and it felt like something was sawing on his throat. “I thought, why am I doing this – this is the way I make my living.”

Pride’s longevity as an artist speaks to his ability to connect to his audiences. His shows have a laid-back, relaxed feel. And he’s never wavered from what he does best – classic, traditional country.

Born to poor sharecroppers, one of 11 kids in Sledge, Mississippi, Pride has been described as ‘a timeless everyman.’ He’s had a continual presence in music for decades, and to date, he’s sold some 70 million records. Pride also released his autobiography, Pride: The Charley Pride Story in 1994.

Interestingly, music wasn’t what he initially had his sights set on for a career. Baseball was an early passion, but his natural gift as a singer would surface from time to time during those years as well.

He unofficially launched his music career in the late 1950s as a ballplayer singing and playing guitar on the team bus between ballparks. After a tryout with the New York Mets, Pride decided to return to his Montana home via Nashville. It proved a key moment in his life’s direction, as it was there he met Jack Johnson. Upon hearing the singer perform, Johnson promised a management contract.

A year later, Pride returned to Nashville and was introduced to producer Jack Clement.

When Clement heard Pride’s renditions of a handful of songs, he asked Pride to cut two songs in two hours. Pride agreed and The Snakes Crawl at Night and Atlantic Coastal Line were recorded.

Three months later, Pride’s demo landed in the hands of RCA Records head Chet Atkins who signed him to the label. Pride’s first single hit the airwaves in early 1966. Before long, The Snakes Crawl at Night was climbing the charts with Before I Met You close behind.

Meanwhile, dozens of his chart toppers now stand as modern classics. Kiss An Angel Good Morning went on to be a million-selling crossover single and helped Pride land Country Music Association Awards as Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972. Besides being a five-week country No. 1 in late 1971 and early 1972, the song was also his only pop Top 40 hit, hitting No. 21, and reaching the Top Ten of the Adult Contemporary charts as well, according to Wikipedia.

He laughs, recalling various folks asking him if he was ever going to ‘cross over’ to the pop side. Pride is proud to be primarily a traditional country singer, and points out that the concept of crossing over wasn’t on his radar with his success on the pop charts as it was, referring to Kiss an Angel Good Morning.

Through it all, Pride has kept a level head about his success. And there’s always that sense of gratitude that shines through at every turn. When discussing his life, he reflects on times when things haven’t gone his way. But his perspective has remained decidedly positive.

“I could go on about things – there were times I could have cried and moaned. But I said well, it’s not going to put me in the soup line.”

For tickets, call 1-855-985-5000 or visit





Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Flora Northwest was taken to the Ermineskin residential school when she was six years old. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

Most Read