Urban Cowboy Mickey Gilley phones the paper

Darian Graivshark
Mickey Gilley

On June 22, Mickey Gilley will be performing at L'Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge.

Gilley was raised in Ferriday, Louisiana, and has two famous cousins named Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.

It wasn't until 1957 that Gilley moved to Houston, Texas, where he recorded his first song called, "Ooh Wee Baby." This song was used in a Yoplait yogurt commercial. In 1959, Gilley had his first charted song, called "Is It Wrong (For Loving You)."

Eventually, Gilley made his way to Pasadena, Texas, where he would perform at the Nesadel Club. Pasadena is also where, in 1971, Gilley opened Gilley's nightclub. The club is in the Guinness Record Book as the world's largest Honky-Tonk. Gilley said he wanted to see his name in lights.

"It was here that I first released Room Full of Roses," Gilley said in a telephone interview on Friday, June 14. "It's kind of what really got me started. The song started when a woman asked me to record a song to add to the jukebox. So, it was really recorded by accident."

Typically, Gilley's performances last anywhere between one-and-a-half to two hours. His last performance was two hours and fifteen minutes. It's a seven piece band, with two female singers and a tech crew.

"My two favorite experiences from all of this was playing for two presidents and getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame," Gilley said.

Gilley played for both George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan while they were in the White House.

"My star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame isn't too far from Bill Cosby's," he said. "I try to go polish it every time I go to Hollywood. It was a really amazing feeling to receive that," Gilley said.

As far as business goes, Gilley is semi-retired. He doesn't focus on the business side as much as he has before, now that he is 83 years old. Gilley still enjoys performing, though.

"I try to make my performances fun and entertaining," he said. "I use visuals and a video during my performance, so everyone who comes is pretty engaged during the shows. I also play the Urban Cowboy at the end of every show. Folks who come out don't really miss anything."

After his performances, Gilley makes sure to host meet and greets. It's important to him that he interacts with his fans and takes the opportunity to chat with them.

However, Gilley can't particularly play the piano as well as he used to, due to an accident that happened in 2009.

"In Carbon, Texas, a guy pulled out in front of my car I was in, and it rolled over three times," Gilly said. "I ended up with ankle, sternum, and shoulder damage, too. It will still bother me sometimes, but I can get up and sing even though my left hand is partially paralyzed."

The June 22 show at L'Auberge in Baton Rouge is being billed as an Urban Cowboy Reunion, featuring Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee. The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster.com.