Tammy Jones Robinette has just released her first bluegrass Gospel album "Let It Shine." And to the delight of fans and critics, it has been warmly received. Tammy Jones Robinette is no stranger to Southern Gospel; ever since she was in her formative years, she and her three siblings have already been singing the Lord's praises as the Jones Family. Later, she honed her own song writing skills in crafting No.1 hits for the Perrys ("There Has Never Been") and the Bishops ("I'll Live Again"). We are so honored to be able to chat with Tammy about her life's journey and her brand new album.
Hallels: For our readers who may not be familiar with your music, can you briefly describe your style of music?
My style of music - My style is southern-country but by definition I would say "eclectic". One of my grand-dads was a Baptist preacher, the other a Pentecostal preacher and my parents loved Bluegrass!! So my influences derive from the red back hymnal to the fast rhythmic spirituals, coupled with banjo's, fiddles, guitars and mandolin music of the mountains. Put that all together and I can say I grew up on a potpourri of musical delights!
Hallels: Tell us a little about your life journey, how did you hear God's call to be a recording artist?
How I heard Gods call: I was eight years old when I felt God's call on my life. I was so shy but I stood with my mom and dad and sang at revivals, camp meetings and church services and my grand-dad had a weekly radio program I would sing on. I always sang with mom and dad but as I grew up my siblings and I felt it was time for us to begin where mom and dad left off. For 12 years I sang with my family "The Jones Family" from Northeast Ohio. We were a mixed group and enjoyed marginal success in the Southern Gospel Music world. Now I am on my own and have been for quite some time. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God called me to do this. I took two years off to take care of my seventy six year old dad, these were years I cherish and would do all over again. It was during those years that I had a thyroid tumor very close to my vocal cord. My doctor said it had to be removed and wasn't sure I would regain my voice above a whisper. I felt God remolding and reshaping my purpose during those trying years. I told the Lord if He was done with me I would accept His will but if it was ok with Him I would love to continue to write songs. I noticed my voice continually growing stronger from that moment on. It took a little over a year to feel like I had gained enough voice to continue singing....and praise the Lord He has allowed me to just that! I would like to say it is the testimonies at the record table, the e-mails and facebook posts of folks who have been blessed by my songs that keep me out there.
Hallels: Congratulations on the release of your latest record "Let It Shine," how is this album different from your other albums?
How is Let It Shine different from other recordings? ...It's Bluegrass! This is my very first Bluegrass recording. It's full of new and old songs that I dearly love. This recording has opened a door for me to travel and do some dates with some of the wonderful bluegrass artists that actually played on this cd. I did my first date with the band in November of 2013 and our next date is at Dollywood in May 2014. Mark Fain, Cody Kilby, Justin Moses, Sierra Hull just to name a few are artist that will be accompaning me as guests of Les Butler (Singing News) Bluegrass & BBQ there in Pigeon Forge. I'm so excited to be with these enormus talented musicians!!
Hallels: Of the new songs you have written for "Let It Shine," what are some of the songs you are proudest of? And why?
The songs from Let It Shine I am most proud of - I think "My Daddy's Mountains" and "Best Friends" - MDMs because I really wanted to write something that identified my dad and his love for his home. He was a mountain man through and through. Because of hard economic times and a wife and eight children he left the dusty coal mines of Kentucky to work in the steel mill in Ohio. I feel him on stage with me every time I sing and fight hard to hold back the tears. He would have really been proud of the bluegrass cd. Best Friends was a sermon I heard from a Pastor at the First Freewill Baptist Church in Tampa Florida. It broke my heart ...I could just see the whole seen playing out in my writers mind. I worked eight hours one day and seven the next day..I almost gave up because I couldn't get it to come. Finally I said Lord if you want this song to be heard please allow me to write it in a tender way that would be pleasing to you....I am really happy with the outcome. I love story songs and tend to lean in that direction from time to time.
Hallels: I absolutely adore the story song "Best Friend," can you tell our readers what the song's about and what inspired you to write it?
Inspiration for Best Friends answered in #4 . Thank you Pastor Im so glad you enjoyed it.
Hallels: Also, you have covered a Dolly Parton song on the album! Are you a fan of Dolly? Who else do you listen to?
Artist I listen to: I grew up listening to Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Flatt & Skruggs and Bill Monroe because my mom and dad loved them... singing a Dolly song was came very natural to me. I also admire strong female singers like Vestal Goodman,Karen Peck, Prisilla McGruder, The McRaes, Sherry LaFontaine, the White Sisters and of course my own sister Annette Parsons. There are so many I admire the list goes on and on
Hallels: With the release of "Let It Shine," where can our readers go to purchase this album and find out more about you?
Where can readers find me - If you would like to know more about my music you can visit my web site - tammyjonesrobinette.com. I'm also on facebook or can reach us by calling 419-602-7471 and ask for Jim.