Monday, December 11, 2023


Artist: Jimmy Fortune

Venue: Liberty Showcase Theatre - Liberty, NC

Date: 12/9/2023

Reviewer: Jennifer Smith

Photos: Jennifer Smith / Lovinlyrics

I don't even know where to begin with this review because when something is perfect, you just can't do it any more justice than that one very word, but I'm gonna try my best.

The top item on my musical bucket list has always been to have the opportunity to hear Jimmy Fortune perform live and I was "fortunate" enough to be able to check that box off Saturday night when he brought his Christmas show to the Liberty Showcase Theatre in Liberty, NC. Not only was I blessed to be able to attend the show, the planets lined up for me and I was able to spend a few minutes in private with him before the show and to let him know personally how much his songs and gift of songwriting have meant to me, to thank him for years of personal memories and for caring about the message in his music. What a gracious and genuinely kind man he is. I will forever consider him a blessing in my life even if I only met him one time for 5 minutes because his music represents who he is and his music has blessed me and so many others.

A little background on Jimmy's career:
  • Jimmy toured, sang and performed a member of the legendary Statler Brothers for 21 years, writing their #1 hit song, “Elizabeth”, following that up with 2 more #1 hits, “My Only Love” and “Too Much On My Heart”. Jimmy also wrote the Top 10 song “Forever” and was a co-writer on another Top 10 hit, “More Than a Name on a Wall”. Jimmy is a member of the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Virginia Musical Hall of Fame.
  • When the Statler Brothers retired 23 years ago in 2002, Jimmy went solo and became one of the most loved voices in gospel music. He partnered with the Gaither Music Group and has released many chart busting albums and DVDs. His "God and Country" CD secured a Dove Award win in 2020 for Country/Gospel/Roots Album of the Year.
  • 2020 also brought Jimmy the opportunity to form Fortune/Walker/Rogers/Isaacs, later to become known as "Brothers of the Heart" releasing  CD and DVD called "Brotherly Love" that debuted #16 on the Billboard All Genre Chart. Their latest project, "Listen To The Music", was recently released and debuted at #32 on the Billboard All Genre chart and #1 on the Christian chart.
The Show:

Jimmy, his fiddle player/vocalist Jenifer Wrinkle, guitarist Stuie French (of The French Family Band) and the bass player whose name I unfortunately missed (but he was outstanding) took the stage which was decked out in all it's beautiful Christmas glory. A night filled with top shelf music, stories, laughter, fellowship and memories with other fans and a thoughtful celebration of the birth of Christ and the Christmas season was just beginning. This year, having been a tough one for Jimmy who recently had a quintuple heart bypass, seems to have brought a new meaning to several of the songs he's sung for years because tonight he sang each one like it was the first time and he sang them with a strong obvious emotion which brought tears to many eyes in the crowd. 

Jimmy started the night with a song that he wrote for everyone his music touches personally and I hope he releases it, "One Song at A Time". The lyrics of this song are so true

"Hello, it's good to see you. 
 You know it's been way too long.
  I've been out here making music
  I see a face in every song
 You're the reason I keep singing
  Love to hear you sing along
  And now I want you to come with me
  In this journey that I'm on.

  So let's sing to all the good times
  Sing to everything that's good in this life
  Change this crazy old world around us
  One song at a time."

He sang songs that made you think of and truly appreciate the reason for the Christmas season with"It's Christmas Time Again", a beautiful rendition of the favorite classic "Silent Night", a new one which I also hope he releases called "The Road to Bethlehem", another beloved classic "Away in a Manger" which was sung beautifully by Jennifer Wrinkle, a fantastic rockin' version of "Daddy Looked a Lot Like Santa" performed with Stuie French, and an emotional newer Christmas classic "Mary Did You Know" that didn't leave too many dry eyes. As someone who has changed my heart and my perspective and started my long overdue journey back to Jesus this year, this will forever stay with me.

He also sang the hits and the crowd was enthusiastic, singing along and you could see expressions of appreciated memories on the faces around me, as well as my own. "Flowers on the Wall" filled my heart with the memory of being a little girl on a road trip with my parents, standing on the hump between the seats, singing with my dad in my off key little girl voice and just having the best time. That will stay with me every day of my life. The room fell silent as he sang of the emotions after the loss of "Elizabeth". You could see people in the room remembering the love of those they also lost. He sang of struggling with the pain of a love gone in a different direction and trying to find the reasons why with "Too Much on My Heart", a situation that most of us have unfortunately experienced. He brought the crowd to it's feet with the classic Michael Martin Murphey song, "Wildfire" about the love between a young woman and the horse she loved that escaped and went missing. This is another song that I can't hear without thinking about singing with my dad. 

He brought the night back to Jesus with my personal favorite, a song inspired by his granddaughter, "I Love You More." This is something I have always said to my mom every night before bed. She tells me she loves me and I always come back with "I love you more." This song also has a deeper meaning than the obvious, the meaning of a love stronger than any love we'll ever have on earth, the love of Jesus and how He loved each of us more as He hung on the cross. He made this one even more special by adding it as an extra last minute song and dedicating it to me because I had simply asked if it was on the setlist. To hear him sing this amazing testimony of love to a room full of silent listeners is something that will always mean the world to me and never leave my heart. 

"I love you more than you’ll ever know
 When you can’t hold on I’ll never let you go
 So let me love you until you love you again
 For everything you may hate yourself for
 I love you more"

He closed out the night 2 songs. He started with "I Believe", a song inspired by the prayers of his mother and how she deeply believed in the love of Christ and that place called Calvary. He talked about how Jesus saved his life this year and talked about how strongly he believes that He is saving each of us every day. He said it perfectly when he said "If you have someone who prays for you, that is the biggest gift." Pray for someone - it doesn't have to be a long prayer, a rehearsed prayer or a perfect prayer, only sincere. The last song was a true song of worship and praise, "Joy to the World". He had everyone on their feet and you could feel the power of the Holy Spirit in the room. I can promise you that not one person in attendance walked out of that theatre the same person as when they entered. Good music has a way of changing you whether you realize it or not. Tonight was a night of change, a night of love and night that won't be forgotten. Thank you to the wonderful staff of the Liberty Theatre for bringing in the best performers.

Thank you Jimmy. 
We love you more.

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