Every time James Rogers has performed in front of an audience during his 50-year career has been meaningful, he said, but when he brings his "My Home Town Christmas Show" again to the Colonnade in Ringgold, Georgia, on Dec. 22., it will be extra special for him.
"It's the 48th wedding anniversary and my 73rd birthday," he said during a recent breakfast at City Cafe in downtown Chattanooga.
The diner on Chestnut Street is a frequent stop for Rogers, whose picture hangs on the wall along with other celebrities who have dined there.
Rogers retired from his regular gig performing at Dollywood in 2011 and laughed when he described the past year.
"I've been about as busy as ever," he said.
Highlights included recording some new songs at Hilltop Studios in Nashville with several musicians he has worked with over the past 40 years. One is called "My Home Town," a song he wrote a couple of years ago as a tribute to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, where he grew up.
The track was a hit with the people there, and they in turn showed their appreciation for it and Rogers in an unexpected way.
"I wanted to give this to the city as a gift ... and did," he wrote in a text a couple of weeks ago. "They in turn have adopted it as the city's official theme song and now even named a road just off Barnhardt Circle (polo field) James Rogers Way ... which is indeed a great honor."
In January and February of this year, his book, "The Story of A Song: Fly Eagle Fly," was released, and that kept him busy for several months doing book signings and public appearances, he said.
On June 18, Rogers celebrated his 50th anniversary in the music business by doing a show at the Colonnade.
"I had people who traveled from seven different states just for the event, and I was overwhelmed. I know they came just for the show because I don't believe they were just in the neighborhood that night in Ringgold," he said with a laugh.
Adding to the special evening, Dolly Parton herself sent a special congratulatory video message. Rogers worked with and for the country superstar for nearly 27 years.
He was honored earlier the same week in Atlanta where he and wife Debbie met with Gov. Brian Kemp and state Sen. Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga. Kemp gave Rogers a special commendation for his music and support of military and community services through song and entertaining.
The Georgia state legislature also honored him with a special proclamation.
His show on Dec. 22 will be a collection of some of his fan favorites such as "Fly Eagle Fly," and holiday classics, he said.
If you go
— What: James Rogers presents “My Home Town Christmas Show.”
— When: 7 p.m. Dec. 22.
— Admission: $12-$22.
— Phone: 706-935-9000.
— Online: catoosacolonnade.com.
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354. Follow him on Twitter @BarryJC.