Kenny Loggins is his own opening act

The Fresno BeeJuly 10, 2014 

It's not every musician that gets to book himself as an opening act.

Kenny Loggins would be the exception.

Along with a full set of his greatest hits when Loggins performs, he does an opening set with Blue Sky Riders, the country-rock trio he's been working with since 2011.

The band - a collaboration with songwriter Gary Burr and singer Georgia Middleman - released its debut album last year.

Playing as your own opener can be tricky, Loggins says.

"Initially, it was a little challenging, because the audience didn't know what the hell I was doing," Loggins says.

The band plays country rock with overtones of Loggins and Messina and the Eagles. There is maybe a hint of Fleetwood Mac in Middleman's voice, Loggins says.

It is a tangent in a career of tangents for Loggins, who has always played to his muse, even when it looked bad for his career.

Record executives couldn't understand it when he pitched doing an R&B album immediately following the success of "Footloose" - which was a No. 1 hit in 1984.

He was almost dropped from Columbia Records prior to the release of 1991's "Leap of Faith," he says.

It was the same when he wanted to record the children's album "Return to Pooh Corner," which was released in 1994.

"It ended up being the biggest-selling children's record of all time," says Loggins, who's currently working on another children's lullaby album.

His choice of projects makes it hard to define his audience.

Some love the '70s soft rock of Loggins and Messina. For some, he's the king of the movie soundtrack (along with "Footloose," he recorded songs for "Caddyshack" and "Top Gun").

Then, there are fans of his children's music and now, hopefully, those who will embrace his foray into country rock.

"I just kind of go where my heart tells me to go, musically," Loggins says. "God willing, you hang in long enough, and people will catch on."

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