Howard and David Bellamy are headed to Viper Alley.
The Bellamy Brothers, 9 p.m. June 21, Viper Alley, 275 Parkway Drive, Lincolnshire.$25-$50. (847) 499-5000 or viper-alley.com
Thirty-seven years and 50-plus albums after making their 1976 debut with the international smash “Let Your Love Flow,” country/rock duo David and Howard Bellamy are still going strong.
Readers Digest recently released a 4-CD retrospective featuring their 14 number-one songs, including “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold it Against Me).” They’ve also recently released an album of gospel music called “Pray with Me” and they continue to tour for roughly 160 shows each year.
Share some of that energy yourself when the Bellamy Brothers perform June 21 at Viper Alley in Lincolnshire.
Pioneer caught up with Howard Bellamy for a mid-tour chat about their international success, bucking the trends in Nashville and why the Bellamys continue to do what they do.
Q.After all your success, why do you continue to tour so often?
Howard Bellamy: Well, we got a lot of kids and a lot of family, so we’re scared to quit. (Laughs) But we still enjoy it, you know. It’s what we do. I see younger acts retiring after a few years and it kind of amazes me. If you’re really passionate about doing something, why would you want to retire? You gotta keep the juices flowing in life. When you quit, you start to go downhill. So, we’ve never really slowed down and we’re still at it.
Q.Who’s in the audience these days at your shows?
HB: You name it. We’ve got a really broad demographic. We play all over the world, in 63 countries over the years, so we even have non-English speaking audiences. But here in the States, entire families come — all ages. We have grandmothers who grew up with our music and they bring their kids and their grandkids. Our music’s been passed down through the years through families and friends — and that’s allowed us to keep playing packed houses. And we’re real grateful for that.
Q.That’s a lot of countries. Have you been surprised at your international appeal over the years?
HB: It’s been that way since we started. Our first hit, “Let Your Love Flow,” went to number one in 15 countries. That opened a lot of doors for us overseas and we’ve been touring internationally ever since.
For example, we’ve got a big Swiss tour coming up and we just released a new album for it over there called “Bellamy Brothers and Friends Across the Sea.” We had a lot of friends record it with us, like Kris Kristofferson and Crystal Gayle and Flaco Jimenez — he played some great accordion on it. And some great European artists as well.
Q. But first you’re headed to Viper Alley. What can people expect to hear at that show? Will you include songs from “Pray for Me”?
HB: We mainly play all the hits. That’s what people come to see. I’m always disappointed when I go to a show and the performer is doing other people’s songs or new stuff no one’s heard of. But we’ll probably play a cut or two from the latest album.
Q.You’ve weathered a lot of trends in Nashville over the years. Did any of them have an effect on your career?
HB: Nashville had gone through lots of changes during our time — Urban Cowboys and every trend imaginable. But we’re still around. We’ve been able to work and tour constantly from the beginning. Things naturally change, but that just means you’ve got to find a niche for yourself and stick with it. And luckily we’ve had great fans that stuck there with us.
Bruce Ingram is a local free-lance writer.