In this excerpt from the podcast, Tillis describes how he overcame his fear of public speaking during one of his early gigs with "Cousin" Minnie Pearl and Roger Miller. [1:10]
Mel Tillis: We went out with Miss Minnie for four months on the road, all through the Midwest and all kind of fair dates and stuff like that. And I stuttered in those days really, really bad. And Roger would introduce my song when it was my turn to sing. And he’d introduce me, “Well, here’s Melvin Tillis.” They called me Melvin in those days. “Here’s Melvin Tillis with his new record.” And I’d sing the song and after I’d finish, Roger would step in and say, “Melvin thanks you.” Miss Minnie, she noticed that and she called me to one side one day and she said, she said, “Melvin,” she said, “if you’re going to be in our business you need to introduce your own songs. And you need to thank them after you finish your song and then you need to sign autographs.” And I said, “Miss Minnie, I can’t do that.” I said, “They’ll laugh at me.” It took me a little while to get all that out. And then she said, “No, they won’t, Melvin.” She said, “They’ll laugh with you.” And from that day on, I started talking a little bit on stage. And before too long, I was on The Johnny Carson Show. So it just all went from there, exploded. I did all the shows. I did 13 movies. When I started talking, people said, “Just give him a chance.” And they did.