Most country music fans know Terri Clark as the sassy, cowboy hat-wearin' starlet with hits such as 'Girls Lie Too,' 'Poor Poor Pitiful Me' and 'You're Easy on the Eyes.'
On her current tour, which stops in Portland at the Wonder Ballroom Oct. 19, fans will see a softer side of the Canadian-born Clark.
Her mother, Linda, fought cancer for three years and recently passed away, in April. It influenced her latest album, 'The Long Way Home.'
The Tribune caught up with Clark, 42 and the maker of six No. 1 hits with five million albums sold, for some questions and answers on a variety of topics:
Tribune: Thoughts on the passing of your mother?
Clark: She was gracious, a fighter. With cancer, the whole family has to fight it. It's a grueling struggle for everybody. You can't help but grow through that experience. She was only 60 years old. A tremendous loss for me.
Tribune: You've toured extensively. Thoughts on Portland?
Clark: I've been through Oregon quite a bit in my travels, played a lot of fairs. It's one of my favorite states, one of everybody's favorite states. It's gorgeous scenery, such a beautiful state. I visited Crater Lake a couple years ago, and that was gorgeous.
Tribune: You've been across Canada and the U.S. on tours - does it get tiring?
Clark: Yes, at this point it has gotten a little tiring. I used to tour nonstop, all year round, but the past three or four years I've settled down a little bit.
Tribune: The 'Unplugged and Alone Tour' is all acoustic stuff - why?
Clark: We started off testing it out last February, and tried about eight of these shows. Everybody was so excited about it. They went so well and sold out, so we extended it. It's kind of how I first started out. My first job in Nashville I didn't have a band, it was mostly solo.
Tribune: The Wonder Ballroom is a small venue …
Clark: I like the intimacy of a smaller venue. With acoustic, you can't get more intimate. It's casual. … It's more rare for a woman doing it. You have to put your best foot forward.
Tribune: Which of your songs are your favorites?
Clark: I really like the songs that deliver a message - 'No Fear,' 'I Just Wanna Be Mad,' 'If You Want Fire,' 'Gypsy Boots,' 'A Million Ways to Run.'
Tribune: Like MTV, CMT doesn't show many actual music videos anymore. Does that bother you?
Clark: Not a lot. It's a little bothersome, but I'm not bitter about it. Anybody can watch my videos on YouTube. The Internet has helped out musicians.
Tribune: You're known for your songs, obviously, but your cowboy hat - what inspired the look?
Clark: When I got a record deal (Mercury Records, 1995), I decided that I looked good in a cowboy hat. I thought it was an interesting concept. I had worked in a western store. All the male acts of the late 1980s and early '90s wore them. I've taken mine off here lately - I'm more revealing with my music.
Tribune: You were born in Montreal, Quebec, lived in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and have family in Ontario, and you've been named Canadian Country Music Association Fan's Choice Entertainer of the Year eight times - is Canada still home?
Clark: Yes, but I'll always have a place in Nashville. I'm a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I have friends there.
Tribune: What does the future hold?
Clark: I'm going to continue touring, making records, writing songs, making a difference musically as long as I can.