Jimmy Fortune—From Statler Brothers to Solo Artist … And God is leading the Way!
Jimmy Fortune has come full circle. In 1982, Jimmy was temporarily hired as one of the Statler Brothers, shortly thereafter he became a permanent part of their signature sound. He’s penned several signature hits in both the Country Music, and Bluegrass genres—songs like “Elizabeth,” “More Than a Name on a Wall,” and “I Believe.” His recent solo projects include When One Door Closes, a gospel album entitled I Believe, a Christmas album Feels Like Christmas as well as a live DVD. Additionally Jimmy maintains an extensive touring schedule throughout North America.
Jimmy is an inductee of both the Gospel Music and Country Music Association Hall of Fame, he is truly an everywhere man. Retirement is not an option for Jimmy Fortune. He continues to chug forward with several projects while collaborating whenever possible.
Jimmy Fortune has become a certified legend in country music for over thirty years and counting. I had an opportunity to ask Jimmy some questions about his long storied career.
You have one of the greatest voices in any genre of music, when did you discover you had such talent?
I was raised in Nelson County, Virginia. My whole family sang. I started singing in church when I was six and realized I had a talent. I used to search the local garbage dump for toys, and one day I found a plastic guitar containing only a few strings, and I started plucking. Then my parents saved up and bought me a real guitar when I was twelve, that’s when I started to really learn. I had my own band by age thirteen.
“I Believe” is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Tell us the inspiration behind it.
God gives me the songs. My part is to get the message out there. It is an honor that God trusts me to deliver his message. We are God’s soldiers.
You were a long time Statler Brother. Do you still keep in touch with the rest of the group?
Yes, I spoke with them just last week. Phil turned seventy-four on August 21st. You become brothers on the road. God, Family and Country was the Statler Brother’s motto… and then our work. I was twenty-six when I became a full time Statler Brother, after Lou Dewitt became ill with Crohn’s Disease. We had the same background and beliefs, and they were very patient with me.
You have been writing some hits as well as performing Bluegrass in recent years. How has that transition been?
Really good… I love Bluegrass. I do not consider myself a Bluegrass singer. I have been doing a lot of performances with the group Daily and Vincent. We will do Gospel and Bluegrass, a lot of tributes to The Statler Brothers, some oldies and some new songs. I love going back and doing oldies.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
Well, I have a few great ones that come to mind: Psalm 1:21, Romans 8:28, and, of course, John 3:16.
I love to hear you sing with Marty Raybon. Could there be any more collaboration in the future?
We did a song called “Working on a Building” along with Trace Adkins and T Graham Brown. I love Marty’s voice. We may do something in the future. I talked to him last week. He is a Warrior for God.
How has your touring schedule been so far this year?
Doing Well. People are supporting me and buying my products. God has many opportunities out there and opened up many avenues for me. My wife goes on the road with me; it makes us closer. She takes care of all my business for me, helps me along the way, and supports me in whatever I need. In my case behind every good man is a surprised woman!