A. You and me both. It’s so odd. That number just doesn’t make any sense. When my grandfather was 70, the best he could do was to bring up phlegm.
I still feel the same way I always have. I’m creative and energetic and never stop. It just doesn’t make any sense, but frankly I’m just grateful that I’m healthy and working and still got my hair. What more can I ask?
Has your touring slowed at all?
A. When I began, I used to tour for months at a time. I don’t do that anymore. I do weekends. I do one-nighters. But I don’t tour the way I used to. That got to me.
You’re back for “A Capitol Fourth” for the first time since 2009.
A. Back by popular demand I guess. I thought it’d be 10 years before they asked me back, and it’s only been four years. I certainly am looking forward to it. It was a great experience last time. Especially to be able to play my song “Let Freedom Ring” with that orchestra and those fireworks, wow, it was really fantastic.
Will “Let Freedom Ring” be the climactic song again this time?
It will be. I’m pretty sure I’ll close the evening with that song. I’ll have a huge choir, and on the last key change, they hit the fireworks and it’s really something.
Are there other songs in your repertoire that tend to resonate with the patriotic theme?
I wrote a song called “One Voice,” and I wouldn’t call it patriotic, but it’s an inspiring song. But “Let Freedom Ring” is right on the head. I’m doing three or four more songs at the beginning of the show and then I end with “Let Freedom Ring.”
Have you had any problems playing outdoors?
You just do it. You just get through it. I’ve done it for so many years. If we’re doing outdoor shows, we’re usually lucky enough to have a roof over the band. If we don’t have a roof over the band, then that’s a problem, because the musicians’ instruments get wet, and the electricity goes out. But it’s really the audience that gets wet because they have no roof over them. I remember when we did the July Fourth, I think there’s a roof over the orchestra and the area that we play, so I guess it’s the audience that’s going to have to bring umbrellas.
A couple of the other performers on the bill are from “American Idol” — Candice Glover, the recent winner; Scotty McCreery. You’ve had some experience there as a mentor. Is that something you’d like to return to?