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Harry Connick Jr.'s getting ready for "Idol's" big final year

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2015

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He's just 47 years old, but Harry Connick, Jr. has already amassed a discography of more than 30 albums since 1977.

But it's not something he's taken the time to sit back and think about in any great measure.

"Not really, man," Connick says by phone from South Bend, Ind. "It is a lot of music, and I don't really spend a lot of time thinking about the old records; I guess if I did I would have a lot more choices on stage, just because there's so many things I've forgotten about.

"but I like to keep moving forward. Having a short memory and just doing what I feel like keeps it rolling, y'know?"

On his current tour, in fact, Connick says he's even reaching beyond his established songs to include "some music I've never recorded, some stuff that hasn't come out yet" -- presumably for his next album, which he's been working on this year. Throwing unheard music at an audience is risky, of course, but Connick has learned techniques to keep his fans from headline to the bathroom or the beer line.

"I think it's important to explain a little bit more about what it is," he says, "tell 'em a little bit about the backstory to make people feel ike they're a bit more included as opposed to just dropping a while bunch of new music on them."

Music, of course, is only part of Connick's creative repertoire. He's celebrating the 25th anniversary of his film debut in "Memphis Belle" and has been in nearly two dozen other features since then, while his TV resume includes a recurring role on "Will & Grace." And starting in August he'll begin his third year as an "American Idol" judge, and he's expecting it to be quite a season since Fox announced it's pulling the plug on the singing show.

"I think they're thinking of it as kind of a farewell season and a chance to find the bookend with (inaugural winner) Kelly Clarkson, try to find some amazing superstar -- which is what we always try to do," says Connick, who will again team with Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban. "Our job is to go out and try to find the best talent we can, and I think the other nostalgia stuff will take second place to that.

"I know it'll be emotional for a lot of people, but we're not thinking of it like that. We're still trying to do our job and try and pick the best people."

Harry Connick Jr.

8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1.

Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway at Schoenherr, Sterling Heights.

Tickets are $45-$99.50 pavilion, $30 lawn.

Call (586) 268-5100 or visit freedomhill.net.

Web Site: www.freedomhill.net

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