Plant City’s own Pam Tillis talks old Florida, bitchin’ boots, diggin’ deep and more

Plant City-born and bred, they just don't make Florida girls like country singer Pam Tillis anymore. Daughter of famed country singer and songwriter, Mel Tillis, Pam rose to musical legend status in her own right.

Raised in Nashville, she first took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 8. After a successful jug band career, she dropped out of University of Tennessee and began working at her father’s publishing company writing music. Her songs have been recorded by Gloria Gaynor, Don Ellis, and Chaka Khan to name just a few. Her own musical career took off after signing with Warner Brothers in the early 1980s. After 30 years, several CMA’s and a Grammy, Tillis released Come to Me and Come Lonely featuring Lorrie Morgan last year.

She spoke by phone about finding her Florida roots, how she started writing and what makes a “bitchin’” pair of boots. Read the interview in Creative Loafing Tampa here. 

Salt Creek Journal: New Book Release!

From "Born on the Fourth of July," an essay by Arielle Stevenson in upcoming Salt Creek Journal:

"Steps from the driving hum of cars, over asphalt in downtown St. Petersburg, towers a lone avocado tree. Traffic flies down Interstate-275’s Fifth Avenue South exit ramp, hugging the concrete starkness of Tropicana field, just feet from the tree’s current residence near Campbell Park. For more than half a century, this tree yields delicious and creamy fruit, year after year. It stands like a flag on the moon, and it might as well be considering how few know its story. To the passerby, it is just another tree in a city filled with avocado trees. Nearby, children playing on the jungle gym and practicing pee-wee football do not even take notice. 

    Mordecai Walker knows this tree’s story, because it is his story too. He planted the tree with his own hands in the 1950s. “That’s how I mark my spot,” said Walker. To be clear, these are “Florida avocados, not those small ones sold at the store.” 

    The trunk and branches that climb toward Florida’s sky are the sole remainder of the home Walker shared with his wife Anna and son Andrew for thirty years. Originally, the tree stood alongside the Walker’s 1940s four-bedroom and three-bath brick house at 1224 Fifth Avenue South. Then Interstate 275 came through Fifth Avenue South in the late 1970s, as interstates did across America at this time, demolishing everything in the name of eminent domain and progress. On the heels of the civil rights movement, the demolition of the Walkers’ St. Petersburg home exemplifies the institutionalized decimation of minority communities across the South. "

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