Jimmy Bowen has worn a number of hats in his career as an entertainer and performer. He played mandolin with The Country Gentlemen for almost a decade starting in the early ’80s, then worked with David Parmley, Scott Vestal & Continental Divide for several more years. His country music creds were earned playing with Earl Thomas Conley, and he’s fronted his own band, Santa Fe, in both a bluegrass and a country setting.
In more recent times he’s also found film and television work as an actor, trading on his rugged appearance and versatile voice.
But this year he’s tackling a new role, that of television producer and host for his latest venture, The Jimmy Bowen Show. The goal is to create a bluegrass and country music-themed talk show for a television network, who have viewed his pilot and expressed enthusiasm about adding it to their schedule. Much like the old Nashville Now program that aired on TNN from 1983-’93, Jimmy envisions a program that will highlight musical performances and interviews with top bluegrass acts and traditional country artists who rarely have opportunities on TV.
He’s seeing the usual format: a desk, chairs for guests, and a stage for live music. If talks with RFD go as planned, you could be seeing the show as early as next year.
He’s been testing the concept with a series of live concerts, starting earlier this year at The Capitol Theater in Lebanon, TN where Bowen lives, and now hosted at The Nashville Palace near The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. A bluegrass show is held the first Thursday of each month at the Palace, with a classic country concert on the second Thursday. At this point, he is recording them for YouTube broadcast, but has a production company and videographer on board for when he gets a green light.
So far he has had Marty Raybon, Daryle Singletary, Flashback, and Mountain Faith on the shows, with Band Of Ruhks scheduled for August 3, and David Parmley on September 7.
Bowen says the idea for the show came to him in a flash, with an unexpected inspiration.
“I’ve always wanted to do this, and it’s a passion project for me. I was watching Forrest Gump late one night after a frustrating day making calls trying to book the band, and heard the line where Forrest’s Mama tells him he would have to figure out his own destiny. It hit me all at once… I’ll make my own way – do my own thing!”
He is looking initially at a half hour format for The Jimmy Bowen Show, and believes that they can get three recorded each Thursday night concert. He could produce one a week for TV, plus there is interest in shooting a matinee at the Nashville Palace before the Friday Night Opry across the street.
These are ambitious plans, but what a great shot in the arm for bluegrass and traditional country music if he can pull this off.
Good luck Jimmy, and let’s hope to hear good news about this project soon.
UPDATE 7/27 – Since we published this story, Jimmy shared this good news.
The Jimmy Bowen Show will be aired on Saturday mornings from 9-10:00 a.m. and again at 12 midnight – 1:00 a.m., Saturday nights. Aired on WUXP My30 Nashville. Station is available on cable, direct, and dish networks. Production is set to begin soon, with broadcasts hopefully beginning in October.