Singer and songwriter Jimmy Reno has just released his debut solo christian country album, Steel Called. Singles off the album have already been charting in the top 40 on the large market ACCMA charts and various other charts. The album, recorded at Baker Productions in Cullman, AL. and co-produced by Charles Baker and Jimmy Reno, features original songs written by Jimmy and Phillip David Harris. The album features traditional christian country songs.
We are honored to be able to catch up with Jimmy Reno for this exclusive interviw.
Q: Jimmy, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start from the beginning, how did you feel the call to sing and make music?
I'm honored and grateful for the opportunity! I've been singing since I was 4 years old. My Dad would stand me in a chair at church so I could reach the microphone and then he played the guitar while I'd sing.
Growing up, I ways knew that singing was my calling. As I got older, I began writing music as well.
Q: You were once a part of Mark209, how did you get to join them? What were some of the highlights for you when you were with Mark209?
I sang with the other 3 original members of Mark209 in another christian group. We formed Mark209 and went with a more country sound over the traditional sound of the prior group we were in.
Highlights would definetly be singing a couple of times for President George H Bush and President George W Bush at the Bush compound in Kennebunkport. We were honored to do private concerts there for the family. Another highlight was singing with Ronnie Milsap, Ronnie McDowell, and TG Shepphard.
Q: I believe you have a brand new record out. Why did you call the album "Steel Called"?
After God led me to step down from the group, I knew I was still called to minister in song. God called me to sing in the Christian country genre. The steel guitar is my favorite instrument. So since I was still called to sing and called to sing christian country, the steel part was a play on words on the genre I sing in.
Q: What were some of the highlights in making this record?
I worked with a fantastic producer in Charles Baker from Baker Productions in Cullman, AL. We worked well together. The musicians were also fantastic. I wrote most of the songs on my album with my cousin, Phillip David Harris, and my nephew, Matt Reno, is playing lead guitar on several songs, so that was also special. The best part was having my amazing wife there for most of it. I'm a blessed man.
Q: Talk to us about the single "Be With Me."
That song was written by Jerry Antonio Brower jr. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and wrote the lyrics as a poem after thinking about the fact that Jesus had walked that road to dying and defeated the grave long ago. Music was added later. I came across the song and the lyrics were so powerful and moving, I knew I had to record it. I felt led to do that as a duet and I approached christian artist Lance Driskell who graciously accepted the offer and sang it with me.
Q: You have also included a stirring version of "Give Me Jesus." Why did you choose to record this classic?
You know we don't know the exact authorship of this old spiritual, but we do know it was sang in the fields by slaves in the 1800s as they worked. They weren't allowed to own anything and they would sing let others own everything in the world, just give them Jesus. When you think about that, it make the lyrics even more powerful. This song is my prayer for my life. To seek to only want Jesus and not anything of the world.
Q: How do you hope this new record would speak to the lives of your listeners?
I pray that some of the songs we wrote, like "Breaking Free," which just shipped out nationwide to radio, touches people. I wrote that song after going through a very difficult time or a song like Give Me Jesus. I pray the lyrics touch people's hearts and points them towards a simple truth....no matter what we face, what we've done, or what we need, God is there with His arms outstretched waiting on us.
"Steel Called" is available now at all digital outlets and through Jimmy's website at jimmyrenomusic.com.