Jones up for 4 Gospel Choice Music awards
Danny Jones has been a fixture in Christian music locally, regionally and nationally for decades. In addition to performing with his family, he has composed music for numerous films and is getting ready to put his music to his biggest budget movie yet.
Jones’ song ‘Chosen to be a Soldier,’ off of his new CD ‘Glorious,’ will appear during the end credits of the $15 million film ‘The Lonesome Soldier,’ which is based on the true story of a soldier returning from Iraq who struggles with the memory of his best friend dying in his arms just seconds after he witnesses a young girl getting blown up.
The movie, directed and written by award-winning screenplay writer Lionel Chetwynd, is based on executive producer Linda Lee’s book, ‘The Lonesome Soldier: The Long Road Home,’ which details her son’s struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.
‘We don’t know who’s going to be the lead actor yet,’ Jones said.
Casting is underway, and filming is set to begin next month.
The film likely will be released in theaters in the spring or summer of 2020, Jones said.
Corydon Cinemas has already talked to him about hosting a local premier for the movie like it did for the film ‘Restore,’ which was produced by First Capital Christian Church in Corydon and for which Jones wrote the music score.
‘The Lonesome Soldier’ will not be the first movie of Lee’s in which Jones’ music has appeared. ‘Second Thought,’ written and directed by Lee, is about bullying and suicide and features his song ‘Don’t Throw It Away.’
‘The whole movie is based on my song,’ he said, adding his cousin, David Vanlandingham of Bedford, also wrote a song, ‘Just a Click Away,’ for the movie.
Jones, who has spent most of his life in Crawford and Orange counties but now calls Corydon home, also composed the theme song for a TV show, ‘Raising Phil and Ernie,’ of which Lee is involved. The first season of the show is available on All Nations TV, a Christian-based broadcasting company, at AllNationsTV.com.
Another of Jones’ songs, ‘Run,’ will appear in the movie ‘A Gift of the Heart,’ which also is expected to be released next year. The faith-based film stars John Schneider of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ fame and Austin St. John, who starred as The Red Ranger in the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ TV show in the 1990s.
Proceeds from the movie, which is about childhood cancer, will go to funding research to find a cure, Jones said.
Jones considers ‘Run,’ first released more than a decade ago, his signature song.
‘It’s the song that has opened all these doors,’ he said, noting that it was remastered and re-released in 2012.
Jones said he was inspired to write ‘Run’ in the late 1990s after seeing multiple showings of the movie ‘Titanic’ at Corydon Cinemas. He said when he left one night, he just felt God telling him, ‘My people are drowning, but they’re not drowning in water. They’re drowning in a sea of loneliness, heartache and despair. Tell My people to run to Me, that My arms are always open wide.’
‘As I was leaving the parking lot, I started hearing this beautiful music in my head,’ Jones said. ‘I had never heard anything like this before, ever. I’d never gotten a song like this.’
The music minister at Hursttown United Methodist Church north of Corydon at the time, Jones said he arrived at the church early one day ‘and ‘ bam ‘ came those words to ‘Run.’ It was like a bolt of lightning, and I wrote that song in less than 30 minutes.’
‘Run’ also has been entered in the 2019 International Christian Film Festival, which will be May 1 through 4 in Orlando, Fla. It was upgraded to Official Selection status a few weeks ago.
‘This means that it was chosen out of 1,000 submissions worldwide,’ Jones said, adding ‘Run’ also is the theme song for the movie ‘A Second Chance,’ which has been named a finalist for the Best Inspirational Feature Film of the Year Award.
This marks the second time Jones has been entered in the International Christian Film Festival. His song ‘Lord, You’re Beautiful’ was entered a few years ago.
‘Even if I don’t win … It will be great exposure for my music there,’ he said.
Jones’ music, whether it be songs like ‘Run’ or scores he has composed, has appeared in more than 50 films. However, he credits Jean Selig Wenger of the Treasure Coast Talent Agency in Fort Myers, Fla., whom he signed with about a year ago, for opening more doors.
Jones also is up for several Gospel Choice Music awards, having been nominated for Contemporary Christian Male Artist of the Year, Contemporary Christian Song for ‘Run,’ Male Artist/Vocalist of the Year and Minister of Music of the Year, which will be presented at the Gospel Choice Music Awards on June 29 in Atlanta, Ga.
The winners are chosen through a multi-layer process. The public can go to www.gospelchoicemusi
cawards.com to cast an unlimited number of votes now through Wednesday, April 10, for their favorites to advance to the Finalist Round. The eventual winners are chosen through a combination of popularity voting in the Finalist Round and voting and review by the 2019 GCMA Review Board.
If Jones is among the top three vote-getters in any of the categories, he will get to perform at the June 29 awards show.
Jones, who, after years of serving as a volunteer elementary music teacher in Crawford County, is the Title I reading instructor at Corydon Elementary School, said staff members there have been doing their part to make sure he is among the top three.
If Jones’ name is called on June 29, it won’t be the first time he has been recognized for his music. Most recently, in 2015, he received the Movie Composer of the Year Award, presented at an event in Dallas for all of the films he composed music for that year. That honor came on the heels of Jones winning Best Contemporary Music Artist in 2011 and again in 2013 at the USAGM Gospel Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn.
Then, on Feb. 8, 2013, former President Barack Obama bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Award on Jones for his contribution to gospel music.
‘That was so neat to get a Lifetime Achievement Award,’ he said. ‘I was just so shocked. I wasn’t expecting it.’
Jones said the nominations and awards are nice, but they aren’t the reason he began writing and performing Christian music years ago and has continued to do so, now as part of the Danny Jones Band, which also includes his sons, Israel and Ethan.
‘I don’t write or I don’t sing for awards. That’s never been my intention or my goals,’ he said, explaining his hope is for people to look at who he is looking at when singing. ‘And that is Jesus.’
Jones still serves as a minister of music, leading music at Cornerstone Full Gospel Church in Corydon, Marshall Avenue Church in Salem and Valeene Wesleyan Church.
As he has done throughout his career, Jones gives the credit to God.
‘I know it has to be ordained by God because only God could open these doors,’ he said.