Country singer performing downtown

Published 8:21 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A country music legend will bring his renowned flair to downtown Suffolk later this month for an evening of great singing and a catchy beat.

John Conlee, a regular performer at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., will play on the evening of Aug. 24 at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, 100 E. Constance Road. Conlee has spent 40 years on the road performing old-school country songs that are fun, honest and relatable.

“I always try to find songs with meat on their bones and that have something to say with a distinctive melody,” he said.

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He recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his signature hit “Rose Colored Glasses,” a song about a man so in love with a woman that he can’t see the cracks in their relationship. That song was a No. 5 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts and the title track to his debut album in 1978.

He’s had a total of 32 singles on the charts between 1978 and 2004, 26 inside the top-20 and more than a half-dozen ranked number one.

His songs are pulled straight from today’s realities. The single “Walkin’ Behind the Star” was written by Nashville recording veterans Ronnie Scaife and Phil Thomas as a tribute to law enforcement and was inspired by the grandfather and great-grandfather of Thomas, both of whom served in their local sheriff’s office.

“Backside of Thirty” describes a working man that longs for family life until his dream falls apart in a bitter divorce. But it’s the song “Common Man” that best represents who Conlee is, whether that’s on the farm or on the road bound for another show.

“I am becoming a little weary of the road, bouncing up and down highways that don’t seem to get any smoother,’ he said with a laugh.

With 40 years already under his belt, Conlee plans to keep on doing what he loves for the foreseeable future. He said he’ll keep performing with his bandmates on stages across the country and let others judge his legacy. He invited the people of Suffolk to do just that on Aug. 24.

“We’re going to try to and have a party when we do the show, but you can’t party if you don’t show up,” he said. “I’m hoping folks will come see us.”

The show will begin at 7 p.m. Visit or call 800-965-9324 for tickets.