Jimmy Fortune: Hits & Hymns
The Gospel Music Association hosted the 47th Annual Dove Awards last night at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena in Nashville. Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Fortune took home the award for “Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year” for the track “Life’s Railway to Heaven,” which features legendary quartet The Oak Ridge Boys. The song was featured on Fortune’s latest critically-acclaimed album Hits & Hymns, which became the Gospel Music Hall of Fame singer’s first solo top ten project on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.
“I’m extremely honored and humbled to win my first Dove award, and sharing the win with my friends The Oak Ridge Boys makes it even more special,” said Fortune. “To be recognized by the Gospel Music Association is one of the biggest moments of my life. I will treasure it forever, and I thank God for the opportunity to do this project with producer Ben Isaacs and the Gaither Music Group community.”
“The Oak Ridge Boys were at a sound check at Renfro Valley, Ken., about twenty years ago when, out of the blue, we started singing ‘Life’s Railway To Heaven,’” said Duane Allen, of The Oak Ridge Boys. “It felt so good we added it to the show that night. Since then, the song has become a regular part of our shows, so it seemed natural when Jimmy Fortune asked us to record it with him for his latest album. Now… we’re humbled and honored to hear that it has won a Dove Award. Congratulations Jimmy! Thank you for inviting us to be a part of the magic.”
Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) will exclusively air the awards show on Sunday, Oct. 16. The GMA Dove Awards celebrate the contributions of artists from every style of Christian/Gospel music. Nominees are determined by over 1,600 professional members, and winners are voted on by the entire GMA membership of nearly 2,500.
About Jimmy Fortune:
Jimmy Fortune toured, sang and performed with the legendary Statler Brothers for 21 years. He joined them first as a temporary replacement for Lew DeWitt, after DeWitt heard him singing at a ski resort and recommended him. Following an audition in Nashville, Jimmy was contacted by The Statler Brothers and performed his first show with them on January 28, 1982, in Savannah, Georgia. Due to the debilitating effects of Crohn’s Disease, Lew was unable to return to the stage with the Statlers, and Jimmy was hired as a permanent replacement in August of 1982.
Fortune quickly lived up to his name. He wrote the group’s second No. 1 hit, “Elizabeth,” on their 1983 album Today, and followed that with two more No. 1 hits–“My Only Love” (from 1984’s Atlanta Blue) and “Too Much On My Heart” (from 1985’s Pardners in Rhyme). Fortune also wrote the top-10 hit “Forever” from 1986’s Four for the Show and co-wrote the top-10 hit “More Than a Name on a Wall” from 1988’s The Greatest Hits.
Jimmy and The Statler Brothers were inducted into the GMA (Gospel Music Association) Hall of Fame on October 29, 2007, and inducted into the CMA (Country Music Association) Hall of Fame on June 29, 2008.
After The Statler Brothers retired on October 26, 2002, Jimmy seized the opportunity to launch a solo career to share new music with his fans. His first solo CD, When One Door Closes, was released August 2003 on Audium/Koch. He released a gospel album, I Believe, in June 2005, a Christmas CD, Feels Like Christmas, in 2006, a live concert DVD in 2007 a country CD, “Windows” in 2009, “Lessons” in 2012, and “Hits and Hymns” CD and DVD through Gaither Music Group in 2015. The DVD debuted at #1 on Billboard. Jimmy is currently living in Nashville, writing, and touring.