Appreciating the “Common Man”: John Conlee

If you’re a country music lover who prefers pure, pared-down sounds to crossover acts or contemporary music tropes (like tricked-out trucks and plastic drinkware), you may well be a fan of John Conlee—and not even know it. Here’s what you need to know about this humble, true-grit artist with a purpose that goes well beyond achieving industry success.

A “Working Man”

John Conlee was born in 1946 on a tobacco farm in Versaille, Kentucky. He learned to play guitar at an early age—so early, in fact, that he gave performances on local radio at the age of ten. He sang with the town’s barbershop quartet as well, but didn’t grow up with a music career in mind. Instead, he began his career as a licensed mortician! His simultaneous work as a DJ for multiple radio stations allowed him to make some helpful music industry connections when he moved to Nashville in 1971 to (finally) launch his singing career.

“Old School” Music

Conlee has drawn much of his inspiration from his experiences with farm life, hard work, and the lives of people in Southern communities. He has always prided himself on his authentic, simple music and has never been drawn to participate in country music trends or use their tropes. Throughout the late 1970s to mid-1980s, Conlee enjoyed mainstream success as a country music artist with producer Bud Logan. His songs ranked among the top ten country hits 19 times throughout his career. Some of the most popular John Conlee songs include:

  • “Rose Colored Glasses” (1978)
  • “Lady Lay Down” (1978)
  • “Backside of Thirty” (1978)
  • “Friday Night Blues” (1980)
  • “Miss Emily’s Picture” (1981)
  • “Common Man” (1982)
  • “Got My Heart Set on You” (1986)

Conlee has never been inclined to do concert tours. In the wake of his fame, he has preferred to focus on charity work benefiting farmers, spending time with his family, and running his own farm near Nashville. However, he still gives performances from time to time, and although they are rare, you can still see him through (ahem) rose-colored glasses if you know where to get tickets.

See John Conlee at Main Street Crossing


You can see John Conlee perform in an intimate concert setting at Main Street Crossing April 25th, 26th and 27th at 8:00 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets. 

Main Street Crossing in Tomball, Texas is one of the best small music venues in the Houston metro area. This unique nonprofit in a historical venue hosts country, Americana, folk, blues, and other types of music artists in an intimate setting: the furthest seat is only 45 feet from the stage. MSC also offers food, beverages, table service, and community seating, making it easier to interact with fellow concertgoers and even performing artists. Parking is convenient and stress-free.

Main Street Crossing additionally functions as a multi-use venue for church services, concerts, and more located in Tomball. Check out our event calendar and enjoy entertainment in support of good causes!

Time left till John Conlee