From the May 2006 issue of Country Music Round-Up


Folk clearly have taken the music of Donny Richmond to heart along with the man. Gregarious to a fault, Donny often hears people tell him that they can sense that he really feels what he is singing. From a very early age, Donny says that he realised that people would stop what they were doing and listen to him when he started singing.

The man thoroughly enjoys entertaining and people can see that, and it causes them to connect. Donny himself admits, 'I get a kick when I take the stage and I see somebody smile over something I've said or sang. That look in the face that tells me they love me just as much as I love them.'

Musically, Donny is very versatile and in his own words, he likes to mix it up a bit. But in general, he always tries to keep his country music to a positive message that all ages can listen to, be it either happy music or reflective music. Sometimes, his country music is deeply spiritual that he sees as 'good for the soul.' He smiles and says, 'Maybe that's what I sing: country soul.'

Knowing Donny, it is not


surprising to find that his basic personality's attitude is to be very positive-thinking. He says, 'I enjoy helping bring out the best in people with a joke or an encouraging word. I love people; and especially interacting with a live audience. I enjoy a good laugh and hearing people tell interesting experiences from their lives. In contrast, I have to admit that one trait I don't enjoy in anyone is conceit. I'm trying to learn to be understanding about this, but I've never been able to understand how one person can think they're better than another person. We're all here by the grace of God and anything good we have, or any talents we have, He gave us. I enjoy people who have humility and recognize that God is the One who is Great. And without Him, we're nothing!'

Donny was selected by the Country Gospel Music Association to induct Loretta Lynn into the Hall of Fame.


A Yankee to the core, Donny was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Maryland. He does have some Confederate roots, however, since his mother grew up on a farm in North Carolina, and his father was from the hills of West Virginia. He remembers, 'In our area, growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, we were very much influenced by Country Music, The Beatles and Elvis Presley. I have an older brother named Carl, and a younger sister named Ilene. My dad was a very hardworking carpenter and my mom was a gracious, gentle, soft-spoken, loving and most of all Christian woman. She took us to church regularly.'

In his teens, Donny attended college for awhile studying music and acting, and then became busy singing with bands and pursuing a music career. Naturally, he had his personal music heroes in those days including Elvis Presley for a number of reasons. 'I always felt a connection with Elvis. I loved his music, his versatility and - to me - he was absolutely incredible. Another guy I found heroic was George Hamilton IV. He was and still is a wonderful guy who travels all over as an ambassador for country music. He's such a remarkable man; so humble and genuine. Recently, he came to see our show in Pigeon Forge and was very complimentary. It was a thrill to work with him at what we call the Cowboy Church. He's a great Christian testimony, a great artist and the kind of guy I truly admire.'

Released worldwide and hitting the NCM Euro Chart in the Spring of 2006, is a song that is dear to Donny that he describes as his signature song. 'An award-winning song, Jesus is My Lifeline, is my most requested song, too. I've performed it in every show since moving to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. My friend, Stonewall Jackson, wrote it and sang with me on the recording. There's just something about that song that connects with folks. Another signature song for me is What Will He Say? which I recorded with The Jordanaires. I wrote that with David Walker in Nashville. Neal Matthews (of the Jordanaires) encouragingly said the song gave him goose-bumps and made the hair on his arms stand up!'

Donny defines a good song as one that leaves the listener a better person for having heard it. 'I like songs that touch your emotions and make you happier or inspire you in some way. That's the essence of a good song. No matter how many chords you use or any of that, the bottom line is does it touch you inside? One of the greatest examples is He Stopped Loving Her Today that George Jones recorded. It's the sad story of a man who promised to love his woman for life, and even though she left him and the years went by, he surely did.'

Country music is deep in the soul of Donny Richmond. 'My mom was a country girl from the Carolinas and I'm tickled to think of my dad as a hillbilly. They instilled country values in our family from childhood.'


Donny's career highlights are many and varied. He cites various awards and the thrill of playing the Grand Ole Opry. 'Recently, I've thoroughly enjoyed doing my TV show. It's amazing how many friends we've made from those who watch the show. What a thrill it is to hear about very well-known people who say that they enjoy watching me on television.'

Donny and his dear wife Doris have two children; Donny named after his dad, and Carl named after Donny's older brother. Donny was born in 1998 and Carl was born in 2003. Donny says, 'I love my kids so much. They are so full of fun and they make their daddy and mommy mighty proud!'

The Richmond family is based now in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and Nashville. He says, 'I've spent a lot of time performing in music theatres in Pigeon Forge since 2001. Some folks may recognize that name as the home of Dolly Parton's Dollywood. We've been having a wonderful time out here. My roles never really seem to clash. I find myself being comfortable in front of the TV cameras, in concert, in the recording studio or holding my children on my lap.'

A lover of country-gospel music, Donny explained that his relationship with Christ Jesus is the most important element of his life. 'I feel compelled to sing about Him and for Him. I owe Him everything. I found out that knowing God is not just a bunch of rules and regulations or things you can't do. It's actually finding out the very things that will make you happiest and will bring you inner peace and hope for the future. I know that God exists because of the daily peace inside that I experience when I pray to Him or read the Bible. The fact that there is a God is the only explanation that makes sense for the indescribably complicated universe that we are part of. God has been there for me in so many ways, I couldn't count them. I know without a doubt He is real and He loves each of us. All He asks is for us to believe Him.'


Donny believes in living up to the full potential of what he can be and--' a sense--people may consider me to be a very driven person. I'm always wanting to accomplish more and I never quite feel like I've done enough. But actually, I'm glad I'm made that way. More and more I'm learning to enjoy the journey!'

For the future, Donny wants more acting roles in full length feature movies. 'I have a passion for acting and thoroughly enjoyed the scenes I got to do in our Heartbreak Holiday Christmas Special in Christmas 2005. It gave me the opportunity to work with many of my musical heroes, including Elvis Presley's backup musicians like Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, Charlie McCoy, Boots Randolph and The Jordanaires. One person I would really be thrilled to work with in some capacity is Sir Paul McCartney. He did a song with Carl Perkins called My Old Friend which was so touching. And of course he's recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records as the most prolific songwriter of all time. Sometimes I sense a spiritual quality about him when I hear him interviewed. It goes without saying that amongst all who have ever made music, he is a most extraordinary all-around artist. I'd sure like to meet him and for us to have a chance to share about each other's experiences and beliefs.'

Donny plans to do more TV to be released throughout Europe and other countries of the world. He says that he has a yearning to reach out internationally and believes the time is right for his music to be heard by a much larger international audience.



P.O. Box 392
Pigeon Forge, TN 37868

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