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There's a famous story often told in country music circles about Kris Kristofferson delivering one of his songs to Johnny Cash by landing a helicopter on Johnny's front lawn. That part did in fact happen, but as Kris cleared up once and for all, he didn't hand the tape to Johnny himself. "He wasn't home," Kris said during a "town hall"-style question-and-answer session with fans in Nashville, part of a taping for SiriusXM's Outlaw Country channel.
As Johnny often told the tale, Kris landed the chopper and stumbled out with a tape in one hand and a beer in the other. But that wasn't entirely true. "You gotta use both hands and both feet to fly a helicopter," Kris said Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 29) in the shadow of the Ryman Auditorium and his old honky-tonk haunt Tootsie's.
Embellished or not, it makes for a good story. And Kris shared many during the intimate hourlong chat, holding a small group of SiriusXm subscribers and Nashville stars, like Josh Turner, in rapt attention, before performing two songs from his new album, Feeling Mortal, and a pair of classics: "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "Why Me Lord." The latter became an all-star singalong, as Josh and such artists as Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison and Kris's longtime pals Donnie Fritts and Billy Swan joined the legend onstage.
Before the performance, the onetime boxer Kris aimed a good-natured jab at the famously deep-voiced Josh. "You're going to sing high harmonies," he quipped.
For more on Kris and his stellar new album, Feeling Mortal, pick up the current issue of Country Weekly, on stands now.