Duo takes break from Christmas album recording for Friday show

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The Fridays After 5 concert series will draw to a close on Friday and local favorites The Purple Hulls will bring their unique brand of acoustic country music to the amphitheater at Kilgore City Park for the final concert.

The twin sister music duo grew up here and have performed in Kilgore many times. Though their increasingly successful careers have taken them all over the world, they never miss a chance to play to a hometown crowd.

“We definitely say yes to the opportunity,” said Penny Lea Clark, one half of the multi-instrumentalist pair. “It’s always fun.”

The Kilgore concert will be a chance for the duo to see some familiar sights in the midst of touring and recording. International tours and an upcoming album have made 2018 a busy year for the band.

“I’d say it has been!” Clark said. “We’ve made two separate tours to Europe this year and we’ve been in the midst of making a Christmas album for the past two weeks. Last month we drove to Minnesota twice. Between everything, traveling and the album, we’ve been quite busy.”

The Christmas album will give fans of the group some more acoustic tunes to enjoy in time for the holiday season.

“[Releasing the album] this year is the goal. It’ll be a mix of original tunes and songs you’ll know. We are recording in a studio in Gladewater,” Clark said, referring to a studio space owned by Mauldin Productions. The studio, located in a building which hosted legendary rock ‘n’ roll and country artists in its heyday, is operated by Chad Mauldin.

“He’s a Kilgore guy, he’s very talented,” Clark added. “It’s a blessing to have something so close.”

The Clark sisters have planned a set list sure to please a Kilgore crowd: a mix of popular songs and new compositions with a surprise thrown in for good measure.

“We’ll definitely include some of the favorites. We do have a handful of new tunes put together or ones that we have written since our last time in Kilgore,” Clark said. The Purple Hulls last played in Kilgore in October 2017 for the Community Appreciation Event.

“We do have a few friends joining us that will be surprise guests,” Clark said, though she revealed one vocalist who will join the duo.

“One of my friends, Haley Young. We used to sing the national anthem at the games. I texted her yesterday to see if she wanted to sing a couple songs with us and she said yes,” Clark said.

Clark said visiting modern-day Kilgore is a far cry from the town she knew in her youth, before downtown renovations took place.

“Kilgore has really changed a lot. I lead a different life now than I did when I left. Growing up, I never really found myself in downtown Kilgore. It’s fun to call it home. We’re not home all that often but we have so much family here. It’s a good place and it’s special to have such a history here,” she said.

Clark added each return to Kilgore was a chance to reconnect with her favorite thing about the city: its people.

“I would say the things I like to do most revolve around people and the functions of the church. It’s always good to come back home to that. I love just getting a coffee at Downtown D’lites and doing some work. I like driving home on a road trip, coming home and seeing the oil derricks in the skyline. When you’ve been somewhere way up north it’s good to come home to that small town feel.”

The Purple Hulls will perform at the final Fridays After 5 event of 2018 on Friday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. at the Kilgore City Park Amphitheater. Vendors will be on hand to sell concessions and the Lazy Splash Ranch will be running. The concert is a bring-your-own-chairs event. For more information, visit KilgoreMainStreet.com.

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