A year has passed since Michelle Wright was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, but the buzz has yet to wear off.
"My cheeks are still sore from smiling about it," said Wright, 51. "It's so cool."
The Daily News caught up with the country star at her sister's home in Ontario a couple of weeks before the start of her latest tour, one tied directly to the honour bestowed upon her in 2011.
Wright calls it the Songs from the Halls tour and dedicates it to the fans who brought her to the dance, so to speak.
"We thought it'd be fun to create a great night of music, and that being (a night of) my hits and hits by other artists who were brought into the hall of fame," said Wright.
Wright selected a variety of songs from a mix of artists she admires and was inspired by.
So when Wright takes to the stage at the Kamloops Convention Centre on Saturday, Oct. 20, fans will hear a collection of her songs and music by such greats as Anne Murray, Al Green, Merle Haggard and Aretha Franklin.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 and available at ORA Restaurant, by phoning 250-372-5312 or online at kamloopsconventioncentre.ca.
Wright promised there won't be too many ballads and not an abundance of fast-paced tunes either. The evening, she said, will be a fine balance of music.
"Where the challenge is, is how you pick 10 or 12 songs," she said. "I went through as many decades as I could to put all of this together."
Having sat in on a few concerts lately, Wright has noticed that the music carries country fans - like their rock-and-roll counterparts - away. Heads bob and fist are pumped in the air.
"To find music that has groove and has energy and has movement is very important to me. I've done that in my own music as well. I want people to be sitting in their seats just grooving with me," Wright said.
And people have been grooving to Wright's music for the better part of 25 years.
She was born in small-town Ontario to hard-working parents who were also musicians. Given that they played country music, it made sense to Wright that she do the same.
"You just go for it and it seemed I was on the right path," she said.
It's a path that led her to join a college band and then form a group of her own in 1983. A deal was signed with Savannah Records in 1985 and a debut single, I Want to Count on You, released a year later.
She's had 25 singles in Canada, including six No. 1 hits, and has twice won the Canadian Country Music Association Fan's Choice Award.
Wright considers herself blessed to have a career that affords her the opportunity to perform large stadium shows of 10,000 or 20,000 people and attend intimate venues like the Kamloops Convention Centre.
"To be able to go into these lovely theatres and have complete control over how the night is going to evolve, over the music and the environment, is wonderful," she said.
Wright said she enjoys touring western Canada and looks forward to doing so next month.
© Kamloops Daily News