ELKHART — It took 77 years, but Kris Kristofferson is finally “feeling mortal.”
The legendary country singer and actor is on the road again with a new album and a new outlook.
“I’ve lived a blessed life,” Kristofferson said.
Actually, “blessed” might be an understatement. Among his long list of accomplishments, Kristofferson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 after a career in music and movies spanning more than four decades. Touring with his latest release, appropriately called “Feeling Mortal,” the Grammy and Golden Globe award-winning entertainer will perform Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Lerner Theatre in downtown Elkhart.
“Feeling Mortal” debuted in January on Kristofferson’s own record label, KK Records.
“Every time I’ve done an album, it’s been a reflection of the world that I’m experiencing at the time,” he said. “My first albums were when I was just beginning to perform, and as you get older you start to feel mortal, I guess.”
Kristofferson’s music has been covered by singers Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley and Joan Baez, among others.
“That’s one of the great things about being a songwriter,” Kristofferson said. “You can see your work interpreted by so many people, people you respect. When it’s somebody you know and the artist is interpreting your work back to you, it’s a very emotional experience.”
Of all the renditions of his songs, his favorite is “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” performed by “The Man in Black.”
“Johnny Cash, for crying out loud,” laughed Kristofferson, who was in the country music supergroup The Highwaymen with Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. “He was such a hero to me.”
Kristofferson credits Nashville songwriter Marijohn Wilkin for introducing him to Cash at the Grand Ole Opry.
“I was on leave in the Army,” Kristofferson recalled. “I was backstage at the Opry when I first shook his hand. I was in uniform, and he changed my life. I was just thunderstruck by this guy who I respected.”
Kristofferson’s stop in Elkhart on Saturday will be one of his last performances in the United States until fall.
“I’m looking forward to the show,” Kristofferson said. “It’s a good part of my life.”
Doors at the Lerner Theatre will open 6:30 p.m., and the concert will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $29.50 to $60.50 online at thelerner.com, by phone at 293-4469, and at the theater’s box office at 410 S. Main St.