Jimmy Fortune sings “More Than a Name on a Wall”
Jimmy Fortune was born on March 11, 1955 in Williamsburg, VA, approximately 20 miles from the Statler Brothers’ hometown. As a young adult, he worked two day jobs, and played in a cover band four hour a night, six nights a week. He quickly earned a regional reputation for his phenomenal tenor voice. On one of his rare nights off, much to the disappointment of his then girlfriend (now his wife), Fortune decided to make the drive to a local ski resort to watch some of his friends play music and he sat in for a few songs.
Fortune smiled on Fortune that night. Lew Dewitt of the Statler Brothers, “Vocal Group of the Year” from 1972-1980, was in the audience. Dewitt, the group’s tenor and guitarist had been struggling with complications from Crohn’s disease and needed a temporary replacement singer. He extended the invitation for Fortune to audition for the position in Nashville, and offered him the position in 1982. After one year of touring, Dewitt announced that he would not be able to return to the group and Fortune remained with the group for 21 years, until they retired.
Having joined the group during their heyday, Fortune had big shoes to fill. He not only stepped in vocally, but also penned several of the group’s #1 songs, starting with “Elizabeth,” which was put on the 1983 Today album, the first by the group since Dewitt’s departure. “Elizabeth” would soar to #1 and earn “Song of the Year” in 1984. The Statler Brothers (including Jimmy) were once again named “Vocal Group of the Year,” that same year, solidifying Fortune’s place among the group and demonstrating that the group could still be successful with the tragic loss of Dewitt.
When The Statler Brothers disbanded in 2002, Jimmy began to focus on his solo career by filling his schedule with extensive tour dates throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has continued writing music and has recorded and self-produced a number of projects in Nashville.
In 2015, Fortune released his album Hits & Hymns, produced by Ben Isaacs, which reached the Top-10 on Billboard’s Country charts. The corresponding TV special, “Jimmy Fortune: Hits & Hymns” hosted by Bill Gaither, debuted No. 1 on the Billboard Music Video Chart.
Jimmy and The Statler Brothers were inducted into the 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. Jimmy was also inducted into the Virginia Musical Hall of Fame in 2018 as a solo artist.
To learn more about Jimmy Fortune, please visit https://www.jimmyfortune.com/.