Last night was the final night of this year’s Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn. I was going to write about both of the final acts at this year’s fair this morning (Jimmy Fortune (left) and his opening act, Nick Nicholson (right). But, I have got so much to say about each of them, that I think we’ll call this Part One. I’ll try to get back a little later this afternoon, and get Part Two done for you guys. I have a lot of pictures, too. So I don’t think I could have gotten it all up in one post.
Last night’s headliner was Jimmy Fortune. He is a former Statler Brother. I’m sure you all remember them – “Flowers on the Wall,” “Class of ‘57,” “My Only Love,” and “”More Than a Name on the Wall,” were among their many, many hits. And the one probably most people remember them for, “Elizabeth,” country music’s Song of the Year in 1985. That is such a great song, and no one out there could ever sing it like Jimmy.
The Statler Brothers, Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, Jimmy Fortune and Don Reid, retired back in 2002. Well, the Statlers retired in 2002, but fortunately for us, Jimmy continues to perform, and we had the opportunity of seeing him at our fair last night. Jimmy and the Statler Brothers were inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 2006, and into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Jimmy is obviously a man who loves to sing. He loves to entertain. He sang well past his scheduled time last night, and I honestly don’t believe the people sitting in the rain listening to him cared one bit. They were enjoying the show so much, I don’t think they minded getting wet. I don’t know if he likes bring people to tears, but he definitely did that last night. His acoustic performance was wonderful. He had been with the Statler Brothers from 1982 until they retired in 2002.
The show last night was a little country, a little Statler, a little Gospel, and a whole lot of what I think is the most outstanding tenor voice in the business. I’ve often said that there are not many people who can pull off a concert with nothing more than a guitar and a microphone. Jimmy Fortune can. Jerry Hensley, who had also worked with the Statlers, accompanied Jimmy on guitar, and the pair of them sounded great. I know everyone who got to hear that show tonight was very glad they did.
Jimmy and his wife, and Jerry and his wife, were so nice to the people there. Jimmy signed autographs, had pictures taken with fans, and all of them visited with fans, graciously accepted compliments, and were just a joy to spend time with.
Tennessee’s Lt. Governor, Ron Ramsey (who is also a candidate for Governor) joined Jimmy on stage, and Tennessee Senator Rusty Crowe actually played a little guitar for us and sang with Jimmy. That was really nice of these two officials to visit the fair this evening and spend some time with their friend, Jimmy Fortune… and with all of us!
Jimmy will be heading to Destin, Fla., for a show on Sept. 5, and then up north to McClure, Pa., Bethlehem, Pa., Allentown, Pa., and Stroudsburg, Pa., for shows from Sept. 18-20. You can check Jimmy’s tour schedule by clicking here.
Now it’s picture time. Please always remember to click on “Read the rest of this entry” below, to go on to the rest of the post … or during fair week, to go on to more pictures!
That will wrap things up for now. I will get back later today and get something up about Nick Nicholson, who opened for Jimmy. I know I have been at this Fair stuff for a week, and you guys are probably more than ready to get back to some country music news… hopefully that will happen beginning Monday morning. In the meantime, drop me an e-mail. I know I owe a lot of you mail right now, but life will get back to normal real soon, and I’ll get you guys answered then.
Take care and have a great Sunday!