Upcoming Jimmie Rodgers appearances and performances
• Street re-naming in Camas
The honorary street renaming ceremony, open to the public, will be held Friday, Sept. 13, at 3:30 p.m., in front of his childhood home at 725 N.W. 10th Ave., in Camas. After the event, Rodgers will do a meet and greet, when he will autograph records and photos and pose for pictures with fans.
• Book signing
Rodgers will sign copies of his autobiography, “Dancing on the Moon,” Saturday, Sept. 14, from noon to sundown. Books and DVDs will be available for sale at the event, which will be held at the Ballard & Call Fine Art Gallery, 408 N.E. Fourth Ave., in Camas.
• Concert on Whidby Island
Rodgers will perform Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m., at the Coupeville MHS Performing Arts Center, in Coupeville, Wash. The venue is on Whidbey Island, located on Puget Sound just north of Seattle.
Tickets are $30 per person, and can be purchased at www.brownpapertic...>
For more information, visit www.jimmie-rodger...>
Camas “hometown boy” Jimmie Rodgers will be in town later this month to attend an event that will celebrate a street being re-named in his honor.
The ceremony will be held Friday, Sept. 13, at 3:30 p.m., in front of the singer’s childhood home at 725 N.W. 10th Ave. Jimmie Rodgers Avenue will be the new honorary street name for 10th Avenue in the Forest Home neighborhood.
Rodgers, who will turn 80 on Sept. 18, said the recognition is very special to him.
“It really means a lot,” he said during a recent phone interview. “Camas is a special place. It’s always been my hometown. The people there are just great.”
A recording artist, author, actor and television personality of the 1950s and 60s, Rodgers was born and raised in Camas. He and his parents, Mary and Archie Rodgers, worked at the Camas paper mill. His mother was also a well-known local music teacher.
Rodgers graduated from Camas High School in 1951, attended Clark College and served in the Air Force.
“I wasn’t a straight-A student,” Rodgers joked. “I was a goofball. I had a lot of fun.”
But Rodgers did have natural talent and a drive to succeed. After winning the nationally televised Arthur Godfrey amateur talent show, Rodgers was discovered, signed with Roulette Records and went on to make 23 gold records and have more than 40 top 10 hits. Some of his more popular tunes include “Honeycomb,” “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” and “Oh-Oh I’m Falling in Love Again.” He also starred in two movies and his own television variety show.
In more recent years, Rodgers has written an autobiography called “Dancing With the Moon,” done animation work for television and film, and is in the process of writing another book, this time fiction, called the “Seventh Horseman.”
“I write almost every day,” he said.
Discussions are underway to film a Hollywood movie based on “Dancing on the Moon,” which details his young life, his experience in the music industry, and his brutal beating in California in the 1960’s at the hands of an off-duty Los Angeles police officer.
“It was tragic,” Rodgers said. “I lost my voice for a while. I had many brain surgeries; I couldn’t walk or talk for a couple of years.”
He has also survived prostate cancer and a heart attack.
“I don’t get sick,” he said, “I get wounded.”
“I believe in faith,” he added. “I believe if you have faith, you can do anything.”
Rodgers, who has five children and four grandchildren, lives in California near Palm Springs with his wife of 36 years, Mary. He continues to perform, booking about a dozen shows a year in venues across the country.
“It’s really fun,” he said. “I work alone with my guitars and piano. It’s the most fun I’ve had on stage in my career. I’ve simplified my life, which is cool.”
The idea for designating a ceremonial street name in Rodgers’ honor was initially proposed to the Camas City Council in January by Marquita Call and Sharon Ballard, owners of the Ballard & Call Fine Art Gallery in downtown Camas.
“He is so proud of Camas, and where he lived, and that his mother taught music here,” she said.
A resolution designating the street name was then unanimously approved by the City Council on Feb. 19.
The resolution states: “The city of Camas desires to recognize Jimmie Rodgers as their ‘hometown boy,’ and to honor his achievements in the entertainment industry through the establishment of an honorary street name for that portion of Northwest 10th Avenue on which Jimmie Rodgers lived from 1939 to 1957.”