It’s a big deal for any entertainer to reach nationwide viewing audiences. But when that reach extends into millions of homes, you can rest assured you’ve reached a pinnacle.
That’s essentially the story of the syndicated television program Jimmy Bowen and Friends. Now set to enter its sixth season, the wildly successful music variety show that airs nationwide on nine different networks–including Heartland and The Family Channel–is set to evolve into something even bigger and better.
“Between streaming and TV shows, the numbers blow me away,” Bowen said of the scope of his audience reach. “Right now, we are in 200 million homes. We’re working on going into a bigger syndication,” he revealed, “to go out to another 80 networks in the future.” Wow!
Not only is he taping at places such as the historic Troubadour Theater in Nashville, but soon, Bowen will take his show on the road. It will give viewers an even more exciting glimpse into the real world of music genres he loves.
“My roots are in bluegrass and Americana,” explained Bowen, a successful musician in his own right. His show also embraces many other styles; he also features “Contemporary Christian, gospel, an Irish trio…and a few that kind of rock it a little bit.”
Bowen thinks openness to all types of sounds makes his show popular with people across the country.
“To me, it kind of gets boring to hear the same style of music in a show,” he confessed.
It appears that same restlessness– that desire for change–is driving Bowen to evolve his show into something more. Bowen hints that fans will find him broadcasting from out on the road. He said this “next level” idea for the program was inspired by the 1970s show Nashville on the Road. He wants to do something like that, only Bowen-style.
“We’ll be filming live on location in June 2023, hopefully in Arlington, Texas. Then, in Nacogdoches in January 2024,” he explained.
Bowen wants to take the show first to Texas since that’s his home turf. He’s “got a place right outside Lubbock, Texas,” and is a part of the music scene in that region. He’s had great success with his music on the Texas charts, so he wants to start on the road in Texas as a kind of pay-it-forward. He plans to follow that with places such as Florida and Las Vegas.
“The ideas are kind of endless,” he said. “I want to expand the show and branch out a little bit.”
In addition to his popular and growing show, Bowen is a successful musician in his own right. The Josie Music Awards recently acknowledged him in a ceremony held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.
“I was very blessed,” he explained. “I was actually nominated for two awards, Vocalist of the Year and Artist of the Year in Americana. It was an honor just to be nominated.” Bowen took the title of Artist of the Year for the Americana category.
“I love what they do,” he said about the awards. “They promote a lot of independent artists.”
While doing his TV show and taking up acting roles in television and film, Bowen also finds time to be a prolific songwriter. He likes to have a new song for each show episode, so he needs “24 brand new songs per season.” Not a problem, he assured.
“I have well over 150 songs we’ve recorded so far,” he said. It’s enough material for several albums, but he prefers to release music as singles. The latest is his January release of “Big City.”
“It’s a song Merle Haggard wrote,” Bowen explained. “I put fiddles in it and did it more the bluegrass way. I just love the song.” He said he did it faster than the original.
“It’s a great two-stepping song,” he said. “They love them in those dance halls down in Texas.”
Bowen’s pace in life seems as fast as that of his latest single. If he’s not working on the show, he’s making music. If he’s not doing that, he’s acting. He says he doesn’t see himself stopping but shared with us a promise he made to his wife.
“If I’m not where I wanna be and doing what I want by 85, I promise to slow down,” he assured.