Kenny Rogers to Retire After World Tour

Country music legend wants to spend more time with family and reveals to Rolling Stone Country he has two books in the works

BY BEVILLE DUNKERLEY  Rolling Stone Country

"It's sadly happy," Kenny Rogers said on NBC's Today show Friday morning upon announcing his retirement from the road.

The Gambler will begin his annual Christmas tour November 11th, hitting 26 cities mainly on the eastern coast of the U.S. and Canada before wrapping December 23rd. After that, it's a global venture, as Rogers will do one last world tour before calling it quits.

"I've done this long enough. Sometimes there's a fine line between being driven and being selfish, and I think I crossed that line when I was younger," says the 77-year-old icon. "I really want to be there with my kids and my wife. I don't see enough of them. And I have some things on my bucket list."

One of those bucket list items, the country music legend reveals to Rolling Stone Country, is another book of photography. His 1987 collection, Your Friends and Mine, featured portrait shots of celebrities ranging from Elizabeth Taylor and Clint Eastwood to Michael Jackson and Paul Simon. This time around, though, he's focusing on landscapes.

"There are probably 550 pictures, so there will be at least two books," says the musician, who was awarded an honorary master's degree from Professional Photographers of America last year. "One will be called American Beauty, and it's all waterfalls and beautiful canyon shots. It's really spectacular. And the other will be places I've been and things I've seen, and it'll be pictures from China, Africa, Europe, Switzerland — over the Alps in a helicopter."

Rogers releases his sixth holiday album, Once Again It's Christmas today. The LP features both standards and originals, with Alison Krauss, Jennifer Nettles and Home Free duetting with the country music legend. The Time Jumpers are also featured on a special Cracker Barrel edition of the album