Documentary Premieres In Columbia Heights SundayBy Cole Premo

A retrospective documentary is capturing the life and times of a respected Midwest country musician who plays more than 200 gigs a year — and more amazingly — hasn’t missed one in 59 years.

At 15 years old in Watertown, South Dakota, Sherwin Linton had his own band and rock-n-roll/country radio show. Throughout the years, he recorded 26 albums and has made it to the top of the country charts — most notably for his 1986 Christmas hit “Santa Got A DWI”.

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Now, at 75 years old, Linton holds a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not World Record for never missing a performance in almost 60 years. Along with playing over 200 shows a year with his band, The Cotton Kings, Linton regularly pays homage to Johnny Cash in special tribute shows.

“Sherwin Linton is one of the greatest country artists in America,” musician and author Paul Metsa said. “As an entertainer he has no equal: 60 years as a professional musician, a repertoire of over 5,000 songs, 14,000 gigs and counting, and he has never missed a show! Add to that his encyclopedic knowledge and love of the history of American music combined with his ability to play those styles, and being a true country gentleman makes Sherwin one of the finest musicians I have ever had the pleasure to know.”

The film, produced by Pioneer Public Television, is a 90-minute piece that took two years to make. It features contemporary live performances, a variety of personal Linton photos and film clips and a string of interviews from childhood friends, his wife and singer Pam Linton and an assortment of fellow musicians.

Linton hopes viewers of the documentary get to know him better and find the film entertaining – as well as educational. Read his thoughts on the film below:

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When Pioneer Public TV approached me a few years ago and asked if they could produce a documentary on me I was very surprised and flattered. I knew it would be a huge project but even I did not realize the depth of detail this would involve. Profiling my life and career may be quite complex at least compared to some people

Growing up in South Dakota with a dad who worked for the railroad, I had lived in at least 10 different towns by the time I was in 7th grade and traveled across a big part of the United States and Canada on trains. I have been married four times so that in itself comes with some bit of candid but limited explanation!

As a musician/band leader I have had over 15 nucleus or compositions of bands and scores of transitional musicians as well. Nevertheless, I believe 75% of the musicians I have employed have stayed with me longer then they did with any other organization prior to, or following their time with me. And most left my organization on an amicable basis. I have done a lot of traveling in a wide variety of vehicles involving countless road stories, but much of this part of my work is not very glamorous. Through the years no matter what the circumstances were, I have tried to be a good person and have a class act.

Spending about two years reviewing my life going through thousands of photos, video, records, posters, press clips memorabilia and other klediments has often been somewhat of an emotional drain. But I have also learned more about myself and others as a result. Most of the work has been an enjoyable experience. After all I am quite a sentimental person. I just hope that friends, fans and others will wish to share all of this in a film.

“Sherwin Linton – Forever On The Stage” premieres in Columbia Heights at the Heights Theatre Sunday at 2 p.m. Ticket information can be found here.


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