There are so many great songs that have been recorded through the years, I couldn’t begin to know which ones to list! There are a lot of songs I wish I had recorded — in fact, I did a complete CD titled Hits I Missed...and One I Didn’t. I recorded “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Detroit City,” “The Blues Man,” “Here in the Real World,” “If You’re Gonna Do Me Wrong,” “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “On the Other Hand,” “Pass Me By,” “Skip a Rope,” “Too Cold at Home” and “Busted.” I would love to have had the original recording on all of those songs.
What gospel songs have you recorded? Do you have a favorite out of all of them?
I would have to say my favorite is “Amazing Grace,” which of course I have recorded, along with “It Is No Secret,” “Just a Little Talk With Jesus,” “Where We’ll Never Grow Old,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Why Me Lord?” “I’ll Fly Away”... I recorded a two-disc CD in 2003 that had 24 gospel tunes on it, appropriately named The Gospel Collection.
When you first began your career who were some of your heroes in music?
My heroes were Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell and Roy Acuff. I admired each one of them and listened to them on the “Grand Ole Opry” every Saturday night at home in Texas.
Do you have any favorite gospel artists?
My all- time favorite gospel artist, who I had the honor of calling my friend, was Vestal Goodman. We lost a treasure when we lost her.
What is one of your proudest career moments?
Being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
What advice would you give to the new batch of young country artists coming out these days?
Stay true to yourself and what you believe in.
Who are some of your favorite country performers today?
Patty Loveless, Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt, Jamey Johnson. I like that they sing more traditional country music.
Of all the people you’ve worked with and met in your career, is there someone you still hope to work with or meet?
No, I have been fortunate to work with just about everyone I admire. It seems I have either asked everyone to record with me, or they have asked me to record with them!
And of all those meetings you’ve had, is there a standout?
The most memorable was when I recorded The Bradley Barn Sessions. We had so many of my favorites come in to record duets with me—Marty Stuart, Alan Jackson, Mark Chesnutt, Vince Gill, Tammy Wynette, Ricky Skaggs, Trisha Yearwood, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Travis Tritt and even Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. It was such a great time for me.
Of all the awards and honors you’ve received, which have been the most meaningful to you?
Again, I would have to say being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame had to be the best because it is voted on by your peers and I think in any profession you want validation from your peers.