Donald Gandy was a long way from home when he was in Nashville, Tenn., this January and for good reason: He was filmed live on the “Shotgun Red Variety Show.”
The weekly show is broadcast on RFDTV on Direct TV channel 345 and Dish Network channel 231 and on cable networks all across the United States and Canada. Gandy will be featured on July 3 to more than one million viewers. He said he sang two of his original country songs and will probably go back next year.
“I was filmed live at the Nashville Nightlife Theater, performing two of my original country songs and backed up by the Shotgun Red Band, that includes musicians who have played for artists such as Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson,” Gandy said.
The host and voice of Shotgun Red is Steve Hall, who has been involved with country music television since the 1980s. Gandy was chosen for the show after Hall spotted him on one of his home videos on Youtube. He was chosen, along with 24 others, out of some 2400 acts reviewed by Hall for this season.
Gandy says his love for music started at age 12 on an old flattop guitar that belonged to his brother. He played weddings and family gatherings and started entering and winning local talent contests, including the Frostproof Rotary Talent Search and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame Talent Expo in 2008-2009.
“As a small town working husband and father of three children, I believe it’s important to keep trying and never give up on your dreams and goals in life,” he said. “When I’m not working, I lead the Worship Music Service at my church and sing at any local churches that would like to book me for a concert for their service.
He has performed concerts at drug awareness and recovery celebration functions for Leland Family Ministries in Bartow and Lakeland.
“I love writing and singing Christian and clean country music, it seems to reach people of any age. I’ve played Southern Gospel, Contemperary, and Country Gospel for crowds who seemed to love all of it,” he said. “A young lady came to me at one of my concerts and told me that she felt like she wasn’t doing anything for God, but after hearing my songs she realized that she does a lot every day, by showing love and kindness to the people at the nursing home where she worked. These are the things that keep me working at my dream.”
Family, friends, and his church banded together to raise funds for his trip to Nashville.
“It was an all day event, with huge tv cameras positioned on me, but when I began singing all of the nervousness went away. This is the most exciting thing that has happened to me in my journey of music and singing. My goal is to spread the love and kindness of Christ to the world through my songs.”