Truly the last deal for The Gambler?

Published 8:26 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It seems to be a time-honored tradition in journalism not to write about Kenny Rogers without making at least one play on lyrics to “The Gambler.” 

It isn’t every day that you get to interview a legend in the entertainment industry for a weekly newspaper in central Kentucky. Last Friday morning, my accomplice, Tosha Baker, had that very opportunity.

Kenny Rogers is performing in Danville at the Norton Center for the Arts’ Newlin Hall on April 8. The show is on the final leg of his “The Gambler’s Last Deal” retirement tour.

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Yeah, I know. Another entertainment act’s “retirement tour.” That has become code for the very last go-around until said act’s subsequent Vegas run in the distant future to whet ticket buyers’ appetites for a full-fledged national or international tour a few years down the road.

Cynicism aside, I encouraged Tosha to call in and join the half-dozen other journalists for a chat with Mr. Rogers. Though she declined to fulfill my request to ask him for his mashed potatoes recipe, she did get to ask the renowned crooner two questions.

Now, I must confess that I’m not a big follower of Kenny’s other than remembering how good the mashed potatoes were at the Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant chain twenty-something years ago, but I give the man credit for maintaining a career for as long as he has. I also give him credit for his reputation for taking good care of his band members, as he has kept several of the same backing musicians for a long, long time.

According to Kenny, he enjoys playing in smaller venues such as Danville, because he can see more of his audience from the stage. Of course, in today’s concert world, every other person in the audience is holding up their phone and filming the performance, so seeing faces in the audience is probably just as difficult as ever. 

Mr. Rogers told everyone on the call, just as he has been saying for over a year, that he will soon step off the tour bus for the final time to spend more time with his twelve-year-old twin sons. He’s 78 by the way. This is very important to him since he was absent so much during the younger years of his older children. 

Plus, he says it is getting more difficult for him to deal with the travel at his age. I wouldn’t doubt that a bit.

It will be interesting to see if this tour—which is being booked, promoted and sold as his retirement tour—really will be just that, and the Gambler really is folding. I have a feeling that ol’ Kenny probably still has a few cards to play yet before walking away from the table for good.

On another note, congratulations to the many winners in this year’s Reader’s Choice Best In Business Awards! We were very pleased with the number of voters that participated this year, showing a strong local support for Jessamine County businesses. Be sure to pick up a copy of next week’s Jessamine Journal for all of the big winners, and also for some tips for a healthier you in 2017!