Kenny Rogers says he doesn't perform songs but "memory creators."
The singer/songwriter, once voted Favorite Singer of All-Time in a joint USA Today/People poll, will be the featured entertainer at Siskin Children's Institute's annual StarNight fundraiser Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Reservations for the full gala will be accepted through 5 p.m. Monday. Cutoff for the concert and after-party is 5 p.m. Thursday. Proceeds help the organization serve children with special needs and their families.
Rogers was secured to perform -- between events in South Dakota and Canada -- when Kenny Loggins was forced to cancel his appearance because of medical problems.
"It's such a great cause," he said. "To be part of it is really an honor."
Rogers also appeared at the StarNight fundraiser in 2004 and was the opening act for McKenzie Arena when it opened in 1982. He will be accompanied by eight musicians. "They sound like 30," he said. "We come fully loaded."
Rogers said story songs such as "Lucille" and "The Gambler" -- two of his bigger hits -- "put you in a place, take you on a trip and drop you off with emotions."
"All songs are memory creators in that ... you relate them to things that were happening to you," he said.
The 72-year-old, three-time Grammy Award winner, who lives near Atlanta with his wife, Wanda, and 7-year-old identical twin boys, says he still does 90 or 100 shows a year.
"Getting there is not as much fun," Rogers said, "but once I get there, there's no place I'd rather be. Everybody needs a purpose. It's what I do; it's what I am."
He said he'll play his hits -- a list that includes "Lady," "She Believes in Me, "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" and "Islands in the Stream" -- because that's what people want to hear.
"I once went to see Ray Charles, who was a friend of mine, in a concert," Rogers said, "and he didn't do 'Georgia on My Mind.' I was disappointed. So I feel an obligation to do [favorites]."
He said he'll also likely play "The Rock of Your Love" from his most recent album, "The Love of God," which is available exclusively at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations.
"I hesitate to do religious songs [at such events]," he said, "but this occasion is unique. Everybody could use a little inspiration."
Rogers has spent 52 years in the entertainment business, having recorded more than 65 albums and charted one diamond album, 19 platinum albums and 31 gold albums.
He is the Recording Industry Association of America's eighth best-selling male artist of all time.
IF YOU GO
What: StarNight 2011 featuring Kenny Rogers.
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13.
Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St.
Admission: $250 (cocktail reception, dinner, dessert, performance and after-party), due by 5 p.m. Monday; $100 (performance and after-party), due by 5 p.m. Thursday.
Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...