Kris Kristofferson to play U of Florida 2/27/2007

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The legendary Kris Kristofferson comes to the University of Florida’s Phillips Center Feb. 27 as part of his “This Old Road” tour. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.

Released last March, “This Old Road” is Kristofferson’s first studio album in 11 years and is full of intensely personal, honest songs.

“It’s all pretty close to the bone,” Kristofferson said. “It’s about what sense I’ve made of my life up to now.”

As an aspiring songwriter, Kristofferson came to Nashville, Tenn., in the mid-1960s. To help support his family, he swept floors at Columbia Studios, where he met some of the biggest names in music. It was a great connection for the budding artist, but Kristofferson did not have much success at first. His big break came when Dave Dudley released his song “Viet Nam Blues.”

Over the next few years Kristofferson wrote a number of songs that would be recorded by a “who’s who” list of performers, including Billy Walker and the Tennessee Walkers (”From the Bottle to the Bottom”), Ray Stevens (”Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”), Jerry Lee Lewis (”Once More with Feeling”) and Janis Joplin (”Me and Bobby McGee”).

While known around Nashville as a songwriter, it wasn’t until Johnny Cash introduced Kristofferson at the Newport Folk Festival that he gained a following as a performer. He signed on to Monument Records and released the album “Kristofferson,” which included both old and new songs. Sales were poor, but the following year the album was re-released as “Me and Bobby McGee” and it took off.

Kristofferson’s compositions were still in high demand and he continued to write for acts such as Johnny Cash, Sammi Smith, Ray Price and others. In 1970, he won song of the year from both the Academy of Country Music (”For the Good Times” recorded by Ray Price) and the Country Music Association (”Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” recorded by Johnny Cash). This is the only time in country music history when one person has won both awards.

In 1972, Kristofferson made his acting debut in “The Last Movie,” directed by Dennis Hopper. Since stepping in front of the camera, Kristofferson has appeared in more than 50 films, including “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “Heaven’s Gate,” “Convoy,” the “Blade Trilogy” and, most recently, “Fast Food Nation.” He won a Best Actor Golden Globe award for his role in “A Star is Born.”

When not in front of the camera, Kristofferson continued to write. His work has earned him spots in both the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, and three Grammy Awards. He also has received several awards with the Highwaymen (a group he formed with Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings).

Tickets are available by calling the Phillips Center Box Office at 352-392-2787 or 800-905-2787 or by calling Ticketmaster at 904-353-3309. Orders may be faxed to 352-846-1562. Tickets are also available at the Phillips Center Box Office, University Box Office at the University of Florida Reitz Student Union and all Ticketmaster outlets; and on the Web at

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