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April 25, 2019

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Kenny Loggins gives Vegas a try with three shows at Wynn

Kenny Loggins

Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP

Kenny Loggins plays three shows at Encore Theater this week.

Kenny Loggins has sold more than 25 million albums, won Grammy Awards and ruled the pop charts, and dabbled in whatever musical genre his heart has desired. But he hasn’t done the Vegas residency thing. He’s trying it out with a three-show run starting today at Encore Theater.

“I don’t think I’ve ever performed at Wynn although I knew Steve [Wynn] from way back when and he’s always said if there was ever a chance I should come in and do a residency, and this was back before it was the cool thing to do,” Loggins says from home in Santa Barbara, Calif. His location is another factor that could make frequent jaunts to Las Vegas a likely reality. “We’re trying it out to see how it feels. Thee are many ways to do it but it seems like a cool thing and a really good room to do it.”

The 70-year-old singer and songwriter has been touring steadily and recently released “Kenny Loggins & Friends: Live on Soundstage Deluxe,” a CD and DVD set showcasing many of his hits along with collaborative performances with David Foster, Michael McDonald, Jim Messina and more. It’s something of a career retrospective speckled with plenty of behind the music-style storytelling, and that’s the type of show Loggins is planning at Wynn.

“I’ve covered a lot of ground,” he says. “It’s a long career and I’ve been at it a while, and I’ve changed my musical territory with the times depending on what I’m into.”

Loggins says he was really into Buffalo Springfield when he broke through performing with Messina, “which was great because I was getting to live the whole country-rock thing. Then Stevie Wonder happened and I found myself writing in a whole different way. David Foster and I were writing jazzier, more keyboard-oriented stuff, and then Michael McDonald and I started moving into an era that now is called yacht rock, that combination of smooth jazz and pop. But I didn’t ever think, ‘Let’s do this now.’ It was just where you go.”

Loggins’ musical evolution also included his 1980s movie soundtrack hits, of course, like “Footloose” and “Danger Zone,” his highly successful children’s’ album “Welcome to Pooh Corner” and his more recent work as part of Americana trio the Blue Sky Riders. He says he’s always encountered resistance from critics whenever he’s moved into a different genre.

“When I left Loggins and Messina and did ‘Celebrate Me Home,’ I didn’t get one great review. They were all pissed at me because they were just getting used to what we were doing,” he says. “But then when I met David Foster and started that, then ‘Celebrate’ became the quintessential Loggins record and the others weren’t as good. I guess I’ve always been a moving target but I just sort of go with what’s calling me, what seems artistically like a fun idea.”

The really fun part is what comes next. “That’s a good question. I really don’t know,” Loggins says. “I want to keep writing because it’s good for my head, to stay active and creative, but I’m not sure where I’m headed now. I’m in a very wide-open place right now.”

Kenny Loggins performs at 8 p.m. September 5, 7 and 8 at Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas (3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South, 702-770-9966) and more info can be found at