Kenny Rogers is calling four minutes late, but he’s apologizing as if he’s hours tardy.
“My mom taught me about punctuality, about how everyone’s time is important,” he said while inserting another mea culpa.
Rogers’ mother – amusingly named Lucille – and his father, Edward, receive front-of-book treatment in the country star’s new memoir, “Luck or Something Like It,” released on Tuesday.
Rogers said his initial writing partner on the book, Patsi Bale Cox, who died last year in the early stages of the project, told him that he needed to focus on telling people where he came from and how he became a superstar with more than 120 million albums sold.
“Patsi told me, ‘Kenny, if they love the boy, they’ll like the man,’” Rogers said earlier this week from Washington D.C., where he was making a few stops to promote the book.
Rogers, who lives in Atlanta with wife Wanda and their twin 8-year-old sons, will appear at the Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta at 5 p.m. Sunday. But don’t expect any autographs or book readings.
“Reading? Heck no, that’s work!” the gregarious Rogers, 74, said with a laugh, adding that he’ll likely do a photo op with anyone who buys “Luck.”
The tome successfully gives fans a glimpse into Rogers’ upbringing in Houston, as well as his early musical days playing jazz into his eventual working relationships with Lionel Richie and Dolly Parton, both still close friends today, up through meeting Wanda when she worked as a hostess at Pricci restaurant.
Rogers said that after Cox’s death, he started reading the stories she had culled from their hours of interviews and decided that it would be best for him to write his story his own way.
“They were wonderful, but it wasn’t my voice, so I started writing them and putting my warped sense of humor to them. But I hate to type so I type everything in all caps and then people think I’m yelling at them,” Rogers said.
He also admits to sneaking a peek at his Wikipedia page “to check album release dates and who I was married to when.”
For the record, Rogers is quite diplomatic in any discussion of his exes in the memoir and was adamant that it never turn into a salacious music industry tell-all.
“I was overly protective,” he said, “mainly because I’m not convinced that my memory of certain things is the right memory, so I didn’t want to get into any of that.”
Rogers does discuss in the book moving to the Athens area years ago because it was an amenable location to raise his kids at the time. He sold his 1,200-acre spread there when he and Wanda got married in 1997 and this past summer, unloaded his lake house in Nicholson because of the tremendous upkeep.
But, despite his frequent national and international travel — he’ll soon head to Singapore and then return to the U.S. for a Christmas tour — he’s still content to call Atlanta home.
“The great thing about Atlanta is that it has no natural disasters, if you think about it,” he said. “It’s an incredible place to live. It’s cosmopolitan, but casual.”
The same can be said of Rogers, who lately has been just as comfortable on stage at Bonnaroo with his pal Richie or performing for a more mature crowd, as he did at Chastain Park Amphitheatre this summer.
And for sure, he has no reasons for apologies.
Kenny Rogers will appear at 5 p.m. Sunday at Barnes & Noble at Mansell Crossings, 7660 Northpoint Parkway, Alpharetta. 770-993-8340, www.barnesandnoble.com.
By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene