An entertaining evening in Shipshewana, IN as Jimmy Fortune delivers another fun filled vocal performance with stories and laughter inside the Blue Gate Performing Arts Center.
After performing numerous shows in the past at the Shipshewana Event Center, country music vocalist and gospel singer, Jimmy Fortune returns to Shipshewana, IN for a one night visit to the newly constructed Blue Gate Performing Arts Center.
Most notable for his 21 years as a member of the country and gospel singing quartet The Statler Brothers, Jimmy wrote five of their top ten singles with three going to #1. Jimmy is also a member of the Country Music Hall Of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall Of Fame.
Jimmy arrives on stage as the crowd clap their hands together to the beat of “This Land Is Your Land.” The beat continues on as Jimmy pays tribute to his home state of Virginia with “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
Jimmy performs “Flowers On The Wall” by The Statler Brothers, but not before mentioning that this Saturday evening performance is dedicated in honor of Harold Reid, a fellow Statler Brother who passed away in April due to a lengthy battle with Kidney Failure. Also missed is brother Lew Dewitt, whom Jimmy replaced as a Statler Brother member in 1982 as Lew battled Crohn’s Disease.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic has put the entertainment industry in a stall mode, this is Jimmy’s second live showing in the past six months. He has done some virtual sessions on the computer with his fans but it is not like performing live in front of them. “It makes you appreciate what you have and being able to share music with the fans and getting together.” “Too Much On My Heart” was the 1987 Song Of The Year in country music for The Statler Brothers and it is all about putting feelings down on a piece of paper.
As the evening’s show progresses through, Jimmy tells stories to follow his country songs and shows his great love for God with his gospel tunes. He includes songs from his journey with The Statler Brothers that include “Far Side Banks Of Jordan,” “My Only Love” and “The Old Rugged Cross” while also playing originals of his own from his seven studio albums.
Accompanying him this evening, Jimmy is joined on stage by a three piece band that includes Jenee Fleenor on fiddle, mandolin, and vocals; Johnny Meyer on acoustic guitar, banjo and vocals; along with Billy James on bass.
While introducing the band, Jenee performs two songs to show off her singing capabilities and fiddle playing skills with the Eddie Miller cover of “Release Me” and the Lynyrd Skynyrd version of “Call Me The Breeze.” Johnny Meyer performs “Porch Light” for his mother and other mothers in the crowd. Jimmy jokingly introduces Billie James as a Terry Bradshaw or Grandpa Jones look-a-like who played bass with The Statler Brothers joining on before Jimmy’s arrival.
Not used to doing shows due to the break this year, Jimmy confesses to “just winging it by the seat of my pants up here on stage.” He is still writing songs in Nashville and he knows God gives him songs for certain reasons. The song, “I Love You More” is a song felt by Jimmy as a message from God to a special person in the crowd that is needing to hear it. It is directed to someone who is feeling lonely, lost, just lost a loved one, in depression, feels unloved or alone with no hope. He states, “God, the most powerful force in the universe loves you. He created you. Doesn’t want you to feel lonely, but feel loved. He loves you more than anything you have ever done.”
On a not so serious song selection, Jimmy tells of how he likes to write songs about couples. A few years back he wrote a song “Good Thing” and played it for his wife to get her reaction. He laughs out loud and claims that she didn’t like it. It is a fun little song about couples and some of the differences they endure during a marriage.
Jimmy is busy right now with tapings for some TV shows; a regular show and a Christmas show. A new project with friends called Brotherly Love, including a dvd and cd all in one. He is also writing a book called Untold Fortunes that tells about his life till now that starts from before birth and how God created him to be the person he is today.
As a songwriter now, the first song he ever wrote was during his time with The Statler Brother. The song “Elizabeth” was written at a time when The Statler Brothers needed a song and God helped Jimmy give it to them. It became Jimmy’s first #1 song as a songwriter in 1983.
After The Statler Brothers retired in 2002, Jimmy opened for the Oak Ridge Boys as a solo artist. While spending time with the Oak Ridge Boys, Jimmy won his first Dove award while performing “Life’s Railway To Heaven” with them.
“I Believe” is the most requested song over the past 15 years and has been an arrow to direct his career. Jimmy’s mother was a prayer warrior and inspired this song. He can still feel her prayers today. She gave birth to nine kids and his daddy always said he went broke making Fortunes. Jimmy’s daddy was an alcoholic of the worse kind, but Jimmy’s mother never gave up on him. One night in 1967, his father ran off and gave his life to the Lord. So thankful for his mother’s prayers and one reason why he believes so much in prayer.
As a dedication to all veterans and their families, Jimmy delivers The Statler Brother hit “More Than A Name On A Wall.” He recalls his opportunities of visiting Washington DC a few years ago and witnessing all the memorials for all the fallen veterans. While there, he seen the Vietnam Wall that has over 60,000 names etched into it of fallen soldiers. Not wanting to call them fallen, Jimmy says they are standing taller than ever. “Standing tall and we need to honor them, thank them, and praise them.” The song is about a mother who came to the wall looking for her son’s name so she could trace his name out onto a piece of paper and pray to God to talk to her son one more time.
With all the bad things going on around this country right now, we need God more than ever. Jimmy invites the crowd to join he and his band in singing the medley of “God Bless America” and “America The Beautiful.”
Claiming that it feels good to be back out and singing after such a long time off, he and the band get inspired by the crowds of people that come out and join them night after night. He feels bad that due to state mandated regulations that the Blue Gate Performing Arts Center have to abide to, he is not able to reach out and connect with friends and fans that came to the show this evening. This is his favorite part of the evening, being able to visit afterwards.
Jimmy concludes his show with the crowd joining him in singing of “How Great Thou Art.”
As Jimmy walks off stage, he is called back for one more song to end the evening. He encores with the crowd joining once again to “I’ll Fly Away” before leaving the stage for the final time of the evening.
Although the show was seen by a smaller than normal crowd due to social distancing and other Covid-19 restrictions, it was a show enjoyed by all in attendance. With a mixture of country music and gospel, it is a show for all ages to witness and enjoy.
Jimmy has a recognizable voice that stands out from others and is truly a voice sent from heaven to send a message from God in song. To witness and enjoy this great show performance and receive other news from Jimmy or the Blue Gate Performing Arts Center in Shipshewana, IN, click on the links below.
Jimmy Fortune setlist:
1. This Land Is Your Land. 2. Take Me Home, Country Roads. 3. Flowers On The Wall. 4. Too Much On My Heart. 5. Make The World Go Away. 6. Crazy Arms. 7. Far Side Banks Of Jordan. 8. The Old Rugged Cross. 9. I Love You More 10. Good Thing. 11. My Only Love. 12. Jenee Fleenor – Release Me. 13. Jenee Fleenor – Call Me The Breeze. 14. Johnny Meyer – Porch Light. 15. Elizabeth. 16. Wildfire. 17. Life’s Railway To Heaven. 18. I Believe. 19. More Than A Name On A Wall. 20. God Bless America / America The Beautiful (medley). 21. How Great Thou Art. 22. Encore – I’ll Fly Away
Event Date: 12-SEP-2020