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Catching Up With... K.T Oslin

Who needs to understand the Venus and Mars differences between men and women? K.T. Oslin knows exactly how to put the romance back into ailing relationships. "Live Close By, Visit Often" is the answer.

"That's a Katharine Hepburn quote I read 30 years ago and stored in the data bank," reveals the witty singer, whose recently released album and single have the actress' quote as their title. After more than five years away from the spotlight, K.T. is back with a collection of honest, intelligent, funny and cut-to-the-heart songs - a style that's become her trademark.

"Live Close By, Visit Often" is the voice of an independent woman who passionately loves her man - but doesn't love the idea of living with him. "I don't expect young people to get behind that theory at all," declares the 60-year-old songstress. "But at my age - absolutely. Some people would get along very well with their partners if they didn't have to do the day-to-day, moment-to-moment. I am one of them. I don't do anything day after day except brush my teeth and bathe!" she adds with a laugh.

The album was co-produced by K.T. and The Mavericks' lead singer, Raul Malo. It features a variety of musical styles, from country ballads to sassy rave-ups to even a dance mix of the pop standard "Come On-A My House."

So what was K.T. doing during the late '90s? "Anything I wanted," she happily explains. "I know how to deal with downtime. I work in the garden. I paint. I love to go to the movies. I'm always entertained."

K.T. entertained millions in the late '80s with her 1987 debut album, 80's Ladies. By decade's end she racked up four No. 1s and three additional Top 10s. She was also the first female songwriter to receive the CMA's award for Song of the Year, for "80's Ladies" in 1988. But as her career skyrocketed, her health problems also escalated. In 1995, she had quadruple bypass surgery.

"Until they fixed me I didn't know how bad I felt," she confides. "Every twinge of pain I had, I blamed on menopause. And sure enough, I had heart problems. But I feel fine now."

K.T. is eager to share Live Close By, Visit Often with her fans. But she confesses this could be her last album. "This business is about youth," she says frankly. "There's a time to get in and a time to get out," she reasons with a smile. "If I get out, I'd like to go out with a bang - with a really big album!"

- Wendy Newcomer