Art Works Podcast: Mel Tillis

By Josephine Reed

Mel Tillis performing. Photo courtesy of Mr. Tillis

In this week's podcast, we meet country singer/songwriter and 2011 National Medal of Arts recipient Mel Tillis. A natural-born storyteller, Tillis also incorporated humor into his act, and was named Comedian of the Year six times during the 1970s. This is particularly noteworthy considering Tillis has had a lifelong struggle with stuttering. Tillis began his career as a songwriter---he's written over 1,000 songs including some 36 top ten singles, nine of which made the number one slot, including "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," and "Detroit City." While he never stuttered when he sang, it took Tillis about ten years to fully commit to performing. He made up for lost time, eventually recording some 60 albums.

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