When you see country singer Chris Cagle with a cowboy hat on his head, rest assured that it’s not a fashion statement.
The 44-year-old Louisiana native, who now lives in Marietta, Okla., has an 80-acre horse ranch that he built himself - after he had established a country music career writing songs for others and then singing them himself.
Cagle will climb out of the saddle briefly Saturday to headline this summer’s final concert at Timberwood Amphitheater in Magic Springs & Crystal Falls amusement park in Hot Springs.
“I did 160 shows last year,” Cagle says, “and I think I have 120 this year. I spend even more time at the ranch, which my wife, Kay, and I aptly call the Big Horse Ranch, with all the cutting horses and beef cattle and chickens, plus we grow our own vegetables and there’s also a couple of 3- and 2-year-old daughters, Stella and Piper, and a stepdaughter, Chloe, who’s 9.
“The ranch sort of fell into my hands when I loaned a buddy some money, and he didn’t pay me back. He’d put up some acreage and so I got that instead, and it includes a nice big lake, which is four or five acres itself. The cutting horses are the big thing we do, but I hate to sell the really good ones. It seems like the horses will sell for either $200,000 or $20,000, as there’s not much in the middle somehow.”
Oddly enough, Cagle’s early work resume may have prepared him for raising three girls. When he first made his move to Nashville, Tenn., in August 1994 to jump-start his musical career, one of his first jobs was working as a nanny for the three daughters of entertainment lawyer Rod Phelps, who helped Cagle meet such other country music movers and shakers as songwriter/ publisher Harlan Howard. Soon Cagle had a publishing deal and had songs recorded by David Kersh.
His hit songs have included “My Love Goes On and On,” “Laredo,” “What a Beautiful Day,” “Chicks Dig It,” “I’d Be Lying,” “Miss Me Baby,” “What Kinda Gone,” “Got My Country On” and “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out,” his only No. 1 single.
Though he was on his way to country music chart success,Cagle admits his influences were as much from the world of rock as the world he was working to enter.
“I was a fan of Foreigner, Kansas, the Doobie Brothers, 38 Special, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels as much as I was tuned into George Strait,” he says. “Even Motown was in my head. When I’d work out, I’d be listening to AC/DC. And when I’d be working outside, I’d be listening to Strait, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard.
“Opening for Brooks & Dunn and Rascal Flatts really got me going until I had vocal cord problems.”
Cagle came down with a variety of vocal cord problems in early 2004 and took a rest from singing for three months, although his rest lasted longer.
“I was tired of the corporate world and record company politics,” he says, “and it had gotten to where folks couldn’t stand to be around me. I said I didn’t want to do this, unless I could do it my way, so that’s what I’ve been doing.”
His current album, Back in the Saddle, came out in June 2012.
Opening act Rachel Hale, a native of Prescott, is a graduate of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs. She was a contestant in the latest season of American Idol and has opened concerts for Tracy Byrd and Joe Nichols and has attended Belmont University in Nashville.
Also opening is Riverbilly, a Little Rock-based band formed by drummer Brad Rickett, bassist Paul Sanders and guitarist/singer Travis Caudell. The group recently opened for Lonestar at the Brickfest in Malvern and performed at Steamboat Days in Des Arc in June.
Opening acts: Rachel Hale (6:30 p.m.), Riverbilly (7:15 p.m.) 8 p.m. Saturday, Timberwood Amphitheater, Magic Springs & Crystal Falls, 1701 E. Grand Ave. (U.S.
70), Hot Springs Admission: $54.99 general admission ($49.99 if bought online), $33.99 for those 55 and older; $74.99 for a season pass; $10 or $5 for reserved seating;
lawn seating is free (501) 624-0100 MagicSprings.com
Weekend, Pages 34 on 08/29/2013
Print Headline: Cagle wrangles horses, daughters, music career