Country gospel music will have a chance to enjoy the music of 2012 Music Evangelist of the Year Tommy Brandt when he performs in concert at The Farm in Lithia Nov. 30.
Brandt has had 12 No. 1 songs on the charts, was named Male Vocalist of the Year four times and was named 2012 Music Evangelist of the Year.
Born in Lebanon, Ind., he said he found his passion for country music listening to the jukebox in the bar his family owned.
"That was our full-time babysitter," Brandt said, recalling that his favorite song at 5 years old was Charlie Rich's classic, "When We Get Behind Closed Doors."
Later the family sold the bar and moved to Florida where Brandt continued to listen to country favorites such as Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr.
At the age of 16, he left home and began living and working on a large cattle ranch in central Florida, learning the cowboy way of life.
A few years later he joined a local country band as a sound engineer and began writing songs for the band and learning to play the guitar.
Shortly after, the lead singer of the band decided to move to Nashville to pursue a music career. Brandt offered to fill in until they could find a new singer. To everyone's surprise, including Brandt's, he was pretty good and became the new lead singer, entertaining crowds with his high energy and strong vocals. The band, New South, became one of Florida's best-known country bands.
The self penned song "Why, Why, Why" put the band on the charts and opened the doors for larger opportunities.
Just as the band was beginning to peak, Brandt fell in love with the woman who would become his wife, Michelle, a preacher's daughter. They began going to church together, and Brandt began to pull away from the bar and club scene. He eventually left the band and launched a solo career, penning inspirational lyrics about faith and love.
His venues changed from bars and clubs to churches, rodeos, fairs and outreach concerts.
Brandt is now touring and appearing at more than 150 venues a year. He has become one of the most recognized inspirational country singers today, sharing the stage with Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Daryl Worley, Little Big Town, Porter Wagner and Roy Clark.
He has won 29 major Christian music awards and has had 14 No. 1 songs on the Inspirational Country Music charts.
In addition, he and his wife have started a promotion company called "Beyond the Music Promotions" that helps inspiring new artists get started in the music industry.
Brandt's current tour is titled "Nuff Said."
The evening at The Farm will begin at 6:30 p.m. with hamburgers and hotdogs. The music will start at 7 p.m.
There are 350 seats at The Farm but concert-goers are urged to come early and bring their own chairs. There is no admission but donations are appreciated.
The Farm is located at 7818 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd., Lithia. For information, call 813-967-3046 or visit www.TheFarmUSA.com.