Tribute Is 'All Relative' For Pam Tillis

Excerpted from the magazine for

On her debut album for Sony's Lucky Dog label, "It's All Relative - Tillis Sings Tillis," Pam Tillis is carrying on the family tradition. For this tribute to her legendary father, Mel, Tillis puts her own creative stamp on some of his best-loved classics as well as reviving lesser-known gems from his catalog.

In creating the 13-song collection, which is due Sept. 3, Tillis had a deep well of material to draw from, as the senior Tillis debuted on the country singles chart in 1958 and racked up 36 top-10 hits." Here she breathes new life into her father's classics and, in some instances, serves up an entirely different take on them.

"When these songs were written, they were influenced by the music of the time," she says. "I didn't feel like it was out of line to throw in some modern influences in my treatment. Some of them I did by the book, but some I did with my influences."

Tillis enlisted participation from family, friends, and musical heroes for this labor of love. Asleep at the Wheel's towering frontman Ray Benson co-produced four tracks with Tillis in Austin (she produced the rest solo), and "It's All Relative" features guest appearances from Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, who lends her vocals to "The Violet and a Rose," which also features Marty Stuart on mandolin.

Tillis also covered "So Wrong," a Mel Tillis song recorded by Patsy Cline. The Jordanaires, who sang on Cline's recording, appear on this new version as well. Trisha Yearwood and Rhonda Vincent contribute vocals to "Honey (Open That Door)," while "Dad and the whole family sang on 'Come On and Sing,'" she says. "The whole album is a real family affair."

Tillis admits it was daunting to record songs previously cut by Cline, her dad, Ray Price, and other legends. "How do you do something that Ray Price and Dad sang?" she says of "Burning Memories." "It was scary to do something like that and the one that Patsy Cline had done. You can't beat those versions, but you just try to sing it with all the feeling and passion that you have."

Excerpted from the Aug. 31, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

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