Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers Supplied

Lucky streak with The Gambler

COUNTRY music superstar, the legendary Kenny Rogers, got me out of bed early on Saturday morning.

He phoned my home and while I'd love to boast, I was just one of dozens of journalists around the country gifted 10 precious minutes to talk to the Grammy legend about his upcoming Australian tour.

Rogers is on the publicity wheel as he prepares for his New Zealand and Australian tours next month, which includes head-lining the Gympie Music Muster on Sunday, August 26.

Better known for his classic country pop hits such as The Gambler and Islands in the Stream, I remember watching Rogers on my parents' tiny black and white television screen in the 80s.

Due to his enormous success on both the country and pop charts, several television movies were inspired by his hit songs. Rogers had starring roles in The Gambler, which spawned several sequels, and Coward of the County.

On the big screen, he played a race car driver in the comedy Six Pack.

Rogers' Australian publicity rep gave me the 7.15am, Saturday, timeslot to briefly speak with the country music icon and, while I am no morning person, it was an offer I could not refuse.

After a few minutes of playing phone tag, my home phone rang with Rogers on the line.

He's excited about performing at the Gympie Muster and while he considers these large festival shows "out of his comfort zone" he is keen to perform at Australia's "other" premier country music event after enjoying himself so much at Tamworth last year.

"I was shocked at how many young people knew my music," he said.

"And they are so much more enthusiastic, which makes it so much more fun."

He admits it has been a long time since he was at the peak of his career, but there is a revived interest in Rogers' music here in Australia at the moment, which probably explains why he has returned so soon.

At 74, Rogers is showing no signs of slowing down.

The five-time married superstar has six children, the youngest of which are eight-year-old twin boys, to his younger wife Wanda.

The "love of his life" is 28 years Rogers' junior, so it was no surprise Rogers professed his love and commitment to his family when I asked him if he still enjoyed the hedonistic lifestyle offered by the music industry.

"I have a good time with my wife and two kids.

"We've been together for 20 years and married 15. I love her so much," he gushed.

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