A chat with Kenny Loggins about hits, lullabies and Blue Sky Riders

It isn’t every day that Kenny Loggins can say he’s on his way to the studio to meet Michael McDonald to re-record his hits “This is It” and “Heart to Heart.”

But on this day, that is exactly on Loggins’ itinerary.

“I want to own my masters,” Loggins explained a couple of weeks ago from California while driving to the studio. “I’ve already gotten an offer to use ‘Celebrate Me Home’ in a movie.”

If Loggins intends to re-record all of his beloved tunes, he should plan to pitch a tent at that studio for a while considering his resume of more than a dozen Top 40 hits as a solo artist, plus his ‘70s-era classics with then-partner Jim Messina (“Danny’s Song,” “House at Pooh Corner” or “Your Mama Don’t Dance” resonate in any memories?).

On Monday, Loggins will present many of those familiar folk-pop-rock songs, with assistance from his three-piece band, at Mill Town Music Hall in Bremen.

In between pockets of live dates through the rest of the year, Loggins, 66, is also working on another lullaby record. The release will primarily contain covers of covers of lullabies, such as Radney Foster’s “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams),” which the Dixie Chicks recorded in 2002.

And, as if that isn’t enough, he’s still moonlighting with the Blue Sky Riders, a melodic country-pop-Americana trio featuring Nashville singer-songwriters Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr. The band released its debut album, “Finally Home,” in 2013.

During his ride to the studio, Loggins talked about the future of Blue Sky Riders, his dream collaborations and his mixed feelings about social media.

Q: The concert you’re doing here is “an evening with…” I saw a set list from some of your summer shows and it seems like quite an amazing night of hits. Is that what we can expect as well?

A: Absolutely, I’m sticking with that formula. I’ve evolved it a life and times show, where I tell the stories, the first half of the show, how the songs came into existence. That’s going over really well. I haven’t played that area in a long time, so it should be a fun night.

Q: Do you prefer doing things alone or with Blue Sky Riders?

A: I like them both. The thing I like with Blue Sky is that rush of a new beginning. Especially now, the audience knows the new album, so the attendance is getting better. We’ve been opening for me now for four years. We’ve built an audience, but we haven’t gotten the audience to migrate effectively enough…We’re working on a new album now. It’s about halfway recorded, so it should be out mid-year next year. We found a group of Nashville players we really like. I like the way Nashville plays rock ‘n’ roll better than how L.A. guys play country.

Q: You had the appearance on “Archer” and in “Grand Theft Auto.” How often are you approached to be part of these pop culture events and at what point did you say, OK, this could be fun?

A: I’m always up for the pop culture things. The most fun was “Archer.” Their people are great; they’ve been really encouraging and accommodating. I was able to contribute to the look of my character, like, use the beard from this one and the eyes from that one. I loved it. But there’s always something coming up, every time I turn around. It’s the old zeitgeist thing. I’ve been back in the pop culture window for about a year, so my kids (ages 17-34) are getting a big kick out of it.

Q: You’ve had some great partnerships over the years singing with Stevie Nicks and Steve Perry and Amy Grant. Anyone still on your wish list?

A: I would love to collaborate with Sting someday. He’s incredibly talented. Pat Monahan (of Train) and I have talked about doing something together. He’s someone I’d like to write with.

Q: Who are you listening to these days?

A: When I listen to music, it’s a playlist I made from a recommendation from a friend or my kids. Little Dragon, they’re amazing. It’s a Swedish neo-soul act. I always want to hear what’s happening in music. The first time I heard Frank Ocean, I was blown away by what soul has morphed into – it’s all based on hip-hop.

Q: You seem to have a good time on Twitter. Was it hard for you to embrace social media?

A: I’m still getting into it. It’s like self-imposed invasion of privacy. There are times when I just want to be left alone. The toughest thing for me is to blog. We used to call that writing letters! But I did a lot of that for a while, and I enjoyed it, but (stuff) happens. My divorce came down and I didn’t feel like writing anymore and the brain chemistry shifts back and the next thing you know is you’re writing again. But with a lot of social media, there’s a narcissistic quality to it. I just want to say, get over yourself.

Kenny Loggins, with Brent Rupard. 7:30 p.m. Monday (OCT27). $55-$65 (price levels increase by $5 at the door). Mill Town Music Hall, 1031 Alabama Ave., Bremen. 1-770-537-6455, www.milltownmusichall.com.

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About the Author

Melissa Ruggieri
Melissa Ruggieri
Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for the AJC. She remembers when MTV was awesome.  
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