SAGINAW (WJRT) -
"I like to play intimate audiences because we can make a different kind of connection," Singer/songwriter Kenny Loggins says. "And you can get away with songs that people have to listen to, like "Now and Then" or "Real Thing," or even the oldies like "Danny's Song" or "House on Pooh Corner." They're much easier to play in those situations."
And Loggins gets the perfect opportunity to perform some of the softer selections from his nearly 50 year career this Thursday at Saginaw's Temple Theatre. Famous for his time in Loggins and Messina in the '70s and numerous hits in the '80s, many of which were featured in classic movies like "Caddyshack", "Top Gun" and of course "Footloose", Loggins says the venue and crowd plays a big part in what songs he selects from his eclectic catalog each night.
"I'm doing a show soon at an airshow, and in that case there's 20,000 people, so you gotta keep it rockin'. That's fun too, cause I always wanted to be a rock 'n roll band, and now I am one. So I'll dip more into the "Danger Zone" kind of stuff for that."
But rock fans don't fret, Kenny says the show Thursday won't leave out the hits.
"In a more intimate show, I'll still build it up to a "Footloose" and "Danger Zone" kind of thing. But I get to spend the first third or half of the show in the more intimate stuff."
Loggins actually gets to spend a little extra time on stage Thursday, as his new band Blue Sky Riders opens the show. The group, which also includes Nashville songwriters Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr, got off the ground in 2011 after Loggins worked with Burr on sessions for another album he was recording.
"I loved his voice and it was really great fun writing with him. We clicked immediately and I thought, 'This is the kind of guy you start a band with.'"
Kenny says there was a little hesitation at the notion of forming a group at this stage of his career, but it didn't last long.
"At first it seemed like a crazy idea, but then I said, 'Why not?' It's a great way to reinvent yourself and I wanted to push myself to new areas musically and just have that sort of juice from startin' a band. And I thought, 'Why not?' It might be the last chance I get to do something crazy."
While it may have seemed crazy at the time, Kenny has used the group as a springboard to push himself creatively.
"I think it's important for me to stay creative and stay in the flow and want to do things that allow me to write and record. And that's just what keeps me happy and alive."
Around the same time as he formed Blue Sky Riders, Loggins began seeing a shift in the audiences showing up to his shows.
"It started with the reinvention of "Footloose" a few years ago. And that was great and I saw the young audiences showing up behind that. And "Danger Zone" has come back into the window, thanks I think to Archer and the way things are cyclical in this business. And now I'm seeing a lot of young people showing up that are "Danger Zone" fans. It's fun to see that back in the audience, that age group, cause it takes me back to that age and it's fun to do that kind of time traveling."
And the 66 year old says the fact that many of his songs are still connecting with those young fans is very special to him as a songwriter.
"I think all legacy acts dream of that, that we can eventually be rediscovered by a younger audience. It's what keeps things alive and movin' forward. As a writer that's the dream, that you can write things that last a long time, and maybe outlast you physically."