Van Wert Live announces the unique opportunity to experience a collaboration of Gaither Music Group acclaimed gospel artists Jimmy Fortune, Bradley Walker, Mike Rogers, and Ben Isaacs performing their album Brotherly Love.
This dynamic quartet crosses country, bluegrass, and Gospel boundaries. Each member of the group brings a wealth of experience to the Gaither Music Group project. Fortune rose to fame as a member of the Statler Brothers and penned some of their biggest hits (“Elizabeth,” “Too Much on My Heart”) before forging a successful solo career when the quartet retired. Walker is a DOVE Award-winning artist with a strong following in country, gospel, and bluegrass. Isaacs has performed with his mother and sisters for years as the GRAMMY-nominated group The Isaacs. Formerly with the legendary Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Rogers is one of the most highly respected musicians in bluegrass music.
Each member brings their intriguing mixture of experiences and influences to Brotherly Love. The result is a diverse collection that spotlights some of the best-loved gems on America’s musical landscape. Walker takes lead on the mournful Hank Williams Sr. classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Fortune’s pristine tenor shines on the Vince Gill hit “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” Rogers delivers a spirited take on the O Brother, Where Art Thou hit “Man of Constant Sorrow”; and Isaacs’ warm voice revives the Don Williams’ hit “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good.”
Their friendship and camaraderie shine on the title track, “Brotherly Love,” a country hit for the late Keith Whitley and Earl Thomas Conley. The album also features the Statler Brothers’ classic “The Class of ’57” and Roy Orbison’s “Crying” as well as such gospel standards as “The Lighthouse,” “Daddy Sang Bass” and “Where No One Stands Alone.”
The seeds for this unique project were sown when Isaacs and Rogers began playing around Nashville just for fun. “First of all, I think it is a God thing,” Isaacs says of how the foursome originated. “Mike and I had sung on Jimmy’s records and we’ve sung on Bradley’s records, but we were playing downtown and [Gaither Music Group’s] Barry Jennings came and watched us play. He said, ‘This is too good for people not to hear.’ So he asked if we would be willing to do it with Jimmy and Bradley; and I said, ‘Absolutely.’ We got together, and when we sang for the first time it was magical. Together the blend and the love we have for each other was so strong that I felt like it had to be shared.”
A 12-time GRAMMY-nominated producer who has shepherded many of the top names in the industry, Isaacs produced Brotherly Love. “For me, it was a given that Jimmy sing ‘Go Rest High’ because there’s no one who is going to sing that with more heart than Jimmy Fortune,” Isaacs says. “It was a given that Bradley would sing ‘The Lighthouse’ and that Mike would sing ‘Man of Constant Sorrow.’ He does so good with those energy things. It was, ‘Here’s our favorite songs,’ and it was more about whatever song fit the personality.”
One of the most soulful moments on the album is Fortune’s rendition of the chart-topping 1979 J.D. Southern hit “You’re Only Lonely.” Fortune credits the late Chuck Dauphin for suggesting he record the song. “He did so much for me and my solo career,” Fortune says of the award-winning journalist, who passed away in 2019. “We were getting ready to do this project, and I got a call from Chuck. He said, ‘Man, you were telling me about working with Ben Isaacs, Bradley Walker and Mike Rogers on this new project. Me and some of my friends were talking, and we would love to hear you do “You’re Only Lonely” from JD Souther.’ I said, ‘My gosh, that’s funny you said that because that song has been on my mind.’ A while later I called Chuck to tell him we recorded it, but he died before he got to hear it. I miss him so much but I’ve got a feeling he hears it. I loved him so much. He did so much for so many. He was a great writer and a good man.”
One of the moments that gave everybody chills was Walker’s cover of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” “When you hear a voice that has been soaked in heart and soul that’s Bradley Walker’s voice,” Fortune says. “Bradley singing ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ is the best I’ve ever heard it done. I’m not even singing on that and it’s my favorite song on the whole album. Man, it’s so stinkin’ good! When you hear the blend that comes in with Mike and Ben singing with Bradley on the harmonies, it’s just incredible. It’s a great cut on one of the greatest songs ever written.”
In addition to recording the album, the foursome also filmed a concert video at Rory Feek’s barn that will be featured as a television special on multiple networks. The award-winning singer/songwriter Feek conducted behind-the-scenes interviews with the group members as well as Bill Gaither and hosted the DVD, which captures special, in-the-round performances of the songs on the album, plus two bonus songs—“Elizabeth” and “I’ll Fly Away.” “That night there was so much energy in the room and the crowd was involved. It just felt so good,” Rogers says. “The energy was just so incredible, and to sing on stage in the round like we did–it was just amazing. It was one of the coolest, if not the coolest, nights that I’ve ever been a part of ever in my whole time of playing music.”
The collaboration of Fortune/Walker/Rogers/Isaacs not only showcases great songs brought to life once again through amazing performances, it also celebrates the bonds of true friendship. “If ever we needed brotherly love we sure need it in the world today towards one another,” Fortune says. “We need to look at each other with the love of real brotherhood. We’re all in this together. No matter what our differences are, we have more in common than we think we do, and that is love for one another. That’s what this whole project is all about, and that’s why we wanted to call it Brotherly Love.”
Immediate access parking is FREE at the Niswonger. Lots are located to the North and South of the venue. Handicap parking is available to the East of the facility immediately outside of the main entrance.
All areas of the Niswonger and certain seating areas are accessible by wheelchair. Please notify the Box Office (419-238-NPAC) at the time of ticket purchase so that a platform for companion seating is reserved. Please ask the ushers for assistance to be seated. All entrances from the parking lots have ramps and are at sidewalk level. A wheelchair-accessible elevator serves both levels of the Niswonger providing both the lower and upper lobby and auditorium. All restroom facilities offer handicap accessibility and a larger family restroom is available on the upper lobby level. There are a limited number of handicap accessible parking spaces available in the front of the facility and in both the North and South campus parking lots. These are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Niswonger also has assisted listening devices provided by the Van Wert Service Club. Please contact the Box Office for details: 419-238-NPAC.
Alert the Facilities Manager of any special considerations. The Niswonger Staff is ready to assist with entry to and from the show. Please contact the Box Office in advance at 419-238-6722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advanced event ticketing, a 10% discount and a driver comp ticket are available for groups of 10 or more. Arrangements must be made through Jerry Beard, Box Office Manager, 419-238-6722 or email@example.com.
Electronic Devices & Camera Policy
Please or silence all electronic devices when the house lights go down for the performance. We welcome you to access social media to share your experience during intermission or after the performance. The use of cameras, audio recording devices and video recording devices is prohibited at performances at the INB PAC. The use of professional lenses and flash photography is strictly prohibited. Flash photography may distract the performer and cause injury.
There are no age restrictions for this family show. Children three and under are granted admission without a ticket so long as they are held by an adult ticket-holder. The VWAPAF reserves the right to preclude the attendance of children under the age of 5 years determined by the nature of the performance. Guardians will be asked to remove their child/children if they cause disruptions for other ticket-holders during a performance.