Grammy-winning artist, John Berry and his wife Robin have worked together most of his music career, and now have embarked on a new journey and project they are creating together through the podcast series Faith, Family & Friends. The twice monthly subscription based podcast is an interview series where John and Robin provide a warm atmosphere of conversation in their ‘sitting around the kitchen table’ approach to talking with their guests. Nov 1. they will release the conversation with Country Music Hall of Fame member and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Fortune and his wife Nina. Subscribe to Faith, Family & Friends online at www.johnberry.com.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of John Berry, so when Nina and I were asked to do this podcast with him and Robin, I was very excited,” shared Jimmy Fortune. “That’s something we all don’t get to do often. It was a lot of fun to talk about those aspects of our lives with our spouses.”
“How awesome to visit with Jimmy Fortune and his lovely wife Nina as they shared how they have worked together, loved each other, and follow the path that God has led them on during their marriage,” expressed John and Robin Berry. “This was truly one encouraging hour we spent together.”
Listeners will be captivated and feel as if they are in the room with them. Each episode features a high-profile guest, including celebrities, sports stars, Hall of Fame members, best-selling authors, and entertainers, who share personal stories about how their faith, family and friends have impacted their lives and careers.
Future guests will include Richie Furay, Chris Hillman, T. Graham and Sheila Brown, Darryl Worley, Randy and Darla Hartley along with many others including surprise guests along the way. Subscribers can still enjoy listening to past conversations with Charlie Daniels, Megan Alexander, Billy Dean, Kim Campbell, Bill Cody, Vince Dooley and his wife Barbara, Marty Raybon and Scott Hamilton.
Throughout John’s long and successful career, Robin has been right beside him, working behind the scenes as a background singer and as part of the JB team. While they have enjoyed an amazing life together, they have also faced difficult challenges, both in his career and his health. With God’s faithfulness being the constant in their lives, they have grown in their relationship with Christ, giving their marriage a firm foundation. Faith, Family & Friends is the perfect outlet, not only for John and Robin to share their life, but for their guests to speak freely about the three most important things in life; faith, family & friends.
Stay current with John Berry on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Music is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play download on Amazon Music and iTunes. Watch video content on YouTube.
About Jimmy and Nina Fortune:
Whether requested by his loyal fans or heralded by fellow artists, the voice of Jimmy Fortune is one of those special instruments. His recognizable tenor has graced some of country music’s biggest hits, earning the Virginia native a slot in both the hallowed ranks of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Music has always been important in Fortune’s life, as he first began performing with his father at local square dances back home. At the age of 13, he formed his first band, The New Edition. As an adult, he built a reputation for being one of the most talented and versatile performers in the Nelson County/Staunton area, known as an artist who could sing anything, ranging from country and bluegrass to rock and roll.
In the early ’80s, word of his talent reached Lew DeWitt. Known as the tenor for the Statler Brothers, DeWitt walked away impressed with the singer’s delivery. If that’s where Fortune’s encounter with DeWitt ended, that would have been reward enough. However, what he didn’t know was that DeWitt was in the early stages of Crohn’s Disease, which would force him to leave the quartet temporarily in 1982. That’s when DeWitt suggested that his partners in the group take a look at Fortune. They did, and Fortune was hired. Unfortunately, by the end of the year, DeWitt had to permanently leave the Statlers, and the job became his on a full-time basis.
To say that DeWitt’s replacement carved out his own place as a Statler would be an understatement. Encouraged to develop his writing talents, Fortune wrote and sang lead on many of their biggest hits. “Elizabeth,” “Too Much on My Heart,” “My Only Love” and “Forever” are just a few of the Statler Brothers’ songs that feature the Fortune name and voice. He also was part of the group’s award-winning TNN variety series that ran from 1991 to 1998 and played date after date on the road, bringing their long-admired harmonies to thousands each year.
After the Statlers retired in 2002, Fortune embarked on the second act of his professional career as a solo artist. With four studio albums and one holiday collection, Fortune proved he could stand on his own following massive success with the vocal group. He teamed up with Gaither Music Group in 2015 for Hits & Hymns and again in 2017 for a compilation of his favorite songs called Jimmy Fortune Sings the Classics.
Combining his passion for faith and patriotism, Fortune returns with God & Country, an all-new recording that reflects and celebrates the beauty of America, the courage of those who have made it free and the hymns that have warmed the hearts of its citizens for centuries. On his new collection, Fortune lends his unmistakable tenor to stirring renditions of national classics and congregational favorites, creating an expression of gratitude for our faith and freedom.
In addition to patriotic medleys like “Battle Hymn of the Republic/This Land Is Your Land” and “God Bless America/America the Beautiful,” which features Sonya Isaacs Yeary, Fortune handpicked traditional hymns that hold special meaning for the singer, including “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Because He Lives” and “Softly and Tenderly,” among others.
“These are songs I grew up on, that I went to church singing. These songs really spoke to my heart growing up,” Fortune shares. “As life has gone on, what these songs have come to mean to me is just unbelievable because of what’s going on in our world. My thoughts go to, Wow, when these songs were written, did they know that one day these songs would mean so much to so many people?”
Produced by Ben Isaacs (Bradley Walker, Gaither Vocal Band), God & Country radiates a warmth and authenticity that pervaded the Nashville studio where it was recorded. “It was kind of an emotional journey. I think when you listen to it, you can feel the emotion in the songs—from the words to the performance,” Fortune says of the recording process. “I was thinking about my family growing up in the most free country in the world and thinking about all the sacrifices that have been made for me to get to this point.”
In addition to Fortune’s legendary vocals, the album boasts a Who’s Who of guest artists, including The Isaacs, Sydni Perry (backup singer for Carrie Underwood), Mike Rogers (guitarist for Craig Morgan) and Charlotte Ritchie. Moreover, the credits reveal some of Nashville’s most treasured musicians: Gordon Mote, Greg Ritchie, Joel Key, Kelly Back and legendary Grand Ole Opry guitarist Jimmy Capps.
“It was a dream come true,” Fortune enthuses, “to get to work with what I consider to be the best musicians and best singers on earth.”
God & Country also puts Fortune’s storytelling abilities on full display. Nowhere is this perhaps more evident than on the powerful “Meet Me at Arlington,” a song he co-penned with Dave Clark. The two songwriters wrote the standout track after watching a television interview with a Gold Star mother from California who had lost a son in Afghanistan. The news story featured the mother’s response to a student who recorded his teacher giving a military rant. Her response struck a chord with Fortune and Clark when she said, “I wish [the teacher] could meet me at Arlington, and then I could let him know how I feel.”
Fortune also reimagines “More Than a Name on a Wall,” another selection inspired by a mother and a landmark song he penned years ago for the Statler Brothers. The mother in this song was at the Vietnam Memorial, searching for her son’s name on the massive wall. “It was just a really powerful moment,” Fortune recalls of that day in D.C. “Looking at all those names on the wall, I realized that they are so much more than that. It goes deeper than that.”
Side by side, Fortune effortlessly showcases the dual sacrifices of both our men and women in uniform and our Savior. The poignant “I Love You More,” which he co-wrote with Molly Stevens, serves as a shining moment of strength as he sings from the perspective of our heavenly Father, “Let me love you until you love you again. For everything you hate yourself for, I love you more.”
“Sometimes we have a hard time forgiving ourselves for the things we’ve done in our lives,” Fortune explains of the impetus for the song. “And sometimes you can have such a hard time that you forget the fact that Jesus died for you, and He gave everything for you. So if you can’t forgive yourself, that’s like not taking a free gift that somebody’s offering.”
The album closes with “It Is No Secret,” a song his mother encouraged him with when he found himself home one Thanksgiving at a low point. Clearly worried about her son, his mother reminded him that “it’s no secret what God can do.” That day, she told him she felt like something really good was going to happen for him. Shortly after Thanksgiving, he received the invitation to audition for the Statler Brothers. The rest, of course, is history.
Fortune sees this as one of many “God moments” in his life that can only be explained as divine providence. God & Country’s 13 tracks provide a glimpse into some of these moments. Whether fueled by faith or driven by patriotism, for Fortune, God and country go hand in hand.
“We need God in our country more than ever,” Fortune concludes. “We wanted to make sure these songs celebrate our country—celebrate the things that we’ve been through to get to this point, but also tie it together with what’s going to get us through to the future. It all came together in a project that I will be proud of for the rest of my life. If I never got to do another one, this one would probably go down as my favorite.”