Mickey Gilley will forever be known as the guy who ushered in the “urban cowboy phase.” At its height, the 1980s obsession with country culture consumed America. Everybody wanted the boots, buckles and cut loose attitude of the blue collar folks frequenting Gilley’s club south of Houston.
But the truth is, Gilley helped create the fad to revive his career. He had plenty of success in the 1970s, with a strong of top 10’s and No. 1’s. It all culminated in 1976 when he wrecked shop at the Academy of Country Music Awards. He won Single of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Top Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year.
So when the lights on Gilley’s brand of country faded, it made sense for him to revive it any way he could. Gilley’s club in Pasadena answered that call. And in the end, when the 1990s ushered in yet again a new flavor of country, Gilley’s career all but vanished.
Or did it?
Mickey Gilley actually just released his first album in nearly three decades, depending on how you look at it. In 2003, he released Invitation Only, but that album featured unreleased tunes recorded in 1991. Prior to that his last album came in 1989. And many people, including Gilley, seemed content on letting his recording career fade away.
Now, that’s not to see he stayed out of the limelight. Gilley remains an active entrepreneur and performer in certain parts of the country (ahem, Branson). But Gilley just surprised quite a few folks by putting the unannounced album Kickin’ It Down The Road.
In fact, in a performance of the title track “Kickin’ It Down The Road,” Gilley says the strength of the song inspired him to do a whole new album. Written by Byron Hill, Mike Kenny and Michael Cosner, “Kickin’ It Down The Road” keeps it country.
The album features 10 tracks. You can pick it up exclusively on his website.