Daily Press (Sunday)

Boone dreamed of hit about grits

- By Peter Larsen

Over his 70 years in music, Pat Boone has almost always sung covers of pop and R&B and country — songs written by other people. Heck, he even did a whole album of heavy metal covers once.

But every so often, a song just ... appears.

“It came to me in a dream literally,” says Boone, 89, of his selfpenned new single “Grits.” “I dreamed I was having a hit record, and when I came out of the dream, I had the first verse.”

Then he breaks into song: “Grits, grits, bestest food there it’s! Country caviar, Tennessee foie gras. Hey grits, grits, bestest food there it’s! Keep your fancy food. Give me my grits!”

Sure, like grits, it’s a little corny but with Boone’s enthusiast­ic delivery, backing vocals by country stars Ray Stevens, Lorrie Morgan and the Gatlin Brothers, and a music video that would have been at home on “Hee Haw,” it’s kind of hard to resist.

“Grits” is one of 25 songs on Boone’s new compilatio­n double album, “Country Jubilee.” The rest of the album is made up of country songs he recorded mostly in the ’60s and ’70s.

This interview with Boone has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: You grew up in Tennessee, so were you always hearing country music? A:

I dated and married the daughter of Red Foley, Hall of Fame country artist. We met at 16 in high school, married at 19. And I was on his television show, the “Ozark Jubilee,” and he was on my show, “The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom” by the time I was 22, 23. So I was country all the way.

Q: Who were your favorite country singers when you

were a kid? Did you have some favorite songs?


Yes. For instance, one of the songs on the album, “Tennessee Waltz,” Patti Page had a big hit record of it, which I loved. Never occurred to me that one day I’d be singing it, recording it myself. Then people like Eddie Arnold and Hank Williams. Recorded three Hank Williams songs on this album. And three

Red Foley songs — “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” and a song I’m thinking about singing at the Coach House, “Chattanoog­a Shoeshine Boy.”

Q: So you wrote a song about grits. That’s pretty country. Did you grow up eating them?

A: Definitely, I was very used to it growing up. Mama fixed it with eggs and ham. One of my lyrics, I’m not sure I used it in the song, was, “I’m a country ham and red-eye gravy man.”

But all I can think

(about writing the song) is that the dream was born out of chagrin from not really being considered as much a country artist as I am, and as I want to be remembered for. I actually give God credit, lyric credit, because those two words came to me in a dream, “country caviar” and “Tennessee foie gras.” The fact that they almost rhyme and they’re both good descriptor­s. And words that were never on a country record before.

 ?? ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY ?? Pat Boone, seen Feb. 10, has a new compilatio­n double album, “Country Jubilee.”
ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY Pat Boone, seen Feb. 10, has a new compilatio­n double album, “Country Jubilee.”

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