Jimmy’s is a familiar face on the country and Gospel side of Music City. As a songwriter he’s penned hits for Joe Diffie, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, and Martina McBride. Not forgetting his bluegrass roots, his songs have also been cut by Balsam Range, Dan Tyminski, and Sammy Shelor. As a vocalist he’s been called on to sing lead for Shenandoah when Marty Raybon was working in bluegrass. In the beginning, Yeary came to Nashville to sing, but lost out on a record deal when personnel changes at Atlantic Records froze him out of a release. But he’s made quite a name for himself as a songwriter, and has a great new bluegrass single with RBR, one he wrote with Will Robinson.
Long before Nashville, Jimmy was a bluegrass boy, playing and singing with his family’s band. He became acquainted with Ronnie Bowman in the ’90s while spending a few months playing mandolin with Lonesome River Band when Dan Tyminski left for Alison Krauss. The two remain close friends, and Ronnie will appear on the upcoming Yeary bluegrass record as well.
Bluegrass also brought Jimmy his greatest life achievement. When he was only 15, he chanced to meet a pretty young girl who was singing with her family band at a festival in Kentucky. He fell for her on the spot, but as teenagers living in different parts of the country in 1985, romance was not in the cards. That was a young Sonya Isaacs, and when they met again 20 years later, he closed the deal. He and Sonya are now happily married, with three young children at home.
When we spoke with him this morning, Yeary spoke of how good it felt to be back singing and playing bluegrass music. This new single is one called Bone Dry, which had once been slated for a country album. He told us that even when he was composing for country hitmakers, he was still in grass mode.
“I always write these songs bluegrass, and then the artists take them and do with them what they want. When this song was written, I was with Atlantic.. part of the reason I lost the deal with them was that they said I sounded too bluegrass!
One day Billy Droze asked me why don’t we do a bluegrass record. This music really puts a smile on my face, and I love that this one is a bluegrass song.
I always like to find a way not to be mean and spiteful with someone who broke my heart. Bone Dry came after a breakup, and I didn’t want her to know how I had been affected by it.
It says what I want to say to a girl without telling her. She can hear it on the radio.”
On the track, Jimmy sings and plays guitar, supported by Josh Swift on reso-guitar, Matthew Davis on banjo, James Seliga on mandolin, Greg Davis on bass, and Jason Roller on guitar. Dan Tyminski and Don Rigsby sing harmony.
Tonight at 7:00 (EDT), Yeary and friends will perform a virtual concert on Facebook, featuring music from his upcoming RBR album, and songs from his talented guests. On hand will be Dan Tyminski, Billy Droze, Sonya Isaacs, and others to celebrate the release of Bone Dry.
The show will be broadcast from the Yeary Chapel, a horse barn on Jimmy and Sonya’s place which they have meticulously converted into a chapel. Prior to the COVID-19 restrictions, they held monthly sessions there with singing, testimony, and devotionals. These were quite popular with Nashville music industry folks, and they hope to bring them back soon.
Bone Dry is available now as a single wherever you stream or download music online. Radio programmers can find the track at AirPlay Direct.