Legendary performer excited about Rector event

Thursday, March 22, 2012
Jimmy Fortune

As a member of the beloved Statler Brothers, Jimmy Fortune has thrilled countless audiences around the world with his amazing tenor voice and songwriting abilities. Fortune has continued to delight crowds as a solo performer following the retirement of Statler members Don Reid, Harold Reid and Phil Balsley in 2002.

Fortune will be joining Dailey & Vincent and Jason Crabb for a special concert performance to benefit the Rector High School Helping Hands Foundation on Thursday, May 3, at the RHS gymnasium.

Fortune, who has appeared in special performances for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, is excited to come to Rector and be a part of the Helping Hands benefit concert, which has had an amazing impact on the lives of several students in the Rector area.

"It's just a wonderful thing," Fortune said. "It's an organization dedicated to the young people of the community. I love what they're doing and I'm happy to be involved with something so wonderful."

Fortune made special arrangements to be a part of this event. He expressed respect for Helping Hands co-founders and Rector natives Bill Carter and Maj. Gen. (U.S. Army, ret.) George Barker.

"I've known Bill Carter for a while now, and he and Maj. Gen. Barker have done great things with this organization," Fortune said. "Helping Hands and everyone involved in it has done wonderful work there. I'm fortunate to be able to call Bill Carter my friend and I hope to make even more friends when I visit Rector."

Fortune has been planning his Rector appearance for more than a year.

"Last year, Bill Carter asked me to come and be a part of the concert," Fortune said. "Unfortunately, I couldn't make it because I was already booked somewhere else at the time. Right then I told him, 'Let me know the date for next year ahead of time and I'll be there.' As I learned what Helping Hands was doing there in Rector, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of."

Fortune's talents and contributions to the Statler Brothers helped earn the group mountains of accolades, including Vocal Group of the Year recognition from the Country Music Association. Fortune and the Statlers were inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2008.

While fans are familiar with Fortune's talent as a singer, he also had a major impact as a songwriter, penning such Statler hits as "Elizabeth," "Too Much on My Heart," "My Only Love" and "More Than a Name on a Wall."

Fortune has continued a busy schedule in the time since the Statler Brothers retired, working in the studio and on stage. He has released five solo projects. He's released two country albums, "When One Door Closes" and "Windows," holiday albums "Christmas Country Style" and "Feels Like Christmas" and a gospel release, "I Believe."

While being a part of the Statler Brothers was a wonderful experience, Fortune says he enjoys his solo career and the different pace it affords.

"With the Statler Brothers, our schedule was so hectic. We might do a show, then be on the road 15 minutes later. Now I get to stick around afterwards and say 'thank you' to everybody who came out to the show. That's very special to me. I can actually have a one-on-one meeting with people who come out to the show."

Fortune has formed close bonds with fellow Helping Hands performers Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent (Dailey & Vincent). The three met some years back and further strengthened their friendships through the 2011 release "Dailey & Vincent Sing the Statler Brothers." Through time together onstage and in the studio, Fortune and the popular Bluegrass performers have developed a synergy which could lead to future projects down the road.

"We did a show together recently," Fortune said. "We're actually looking at putting a group together sometime in the future and plan on doing a country album. They're both outstanding performers and are just genuinely fun to be around."

In fact, fans may be treated to a special collaboration during the Rector concert.

"Hopefully, we'll have some things put together for May 3," Fortune said.

The Rector event also will feature Grammy winner Jason Crabb.

"Jason Crabb has one of the best voices that's ever come across a microphone," Fortune said. "I think the people in Rector are really going to enjoy the lineup we have in store for them. It's going to be a special night for a special cause. It should be a lot of fun for everyone, myself included."

Reserved VIP floor tickets at $100 each include padded seats and a meet-and-greet with the artists. General admission tickets include stadium seating at $25 and bleacher seating at $10 each. Those who purchase 10 tickets get two free (all 10 must be purchased in the same section and the two free tickets will be given in the purchased section).

Tickets are available for purchase by calling (870) 595-3501 or (870) 595-3563 or by visiting www.RHSHelpingHands.org. Tickets also are available at all Glen Sain Motors locations or at Liberty Bank in Rector.

The event will begin with the meet-and-greet at 5 p.m. Helping Hands ambassadors and scholarship recipients will be introduced at 6 p.m., and the concert will begin at 6:30 p.m.

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