Jimmie Van Zant was born in Jacksonville, Florida, a city known as “the home of southern rock royalty.”
His mother spent hours every day playing gospel tunes on the family’s upright piano encouraging Jimmie to start piano and guitar lessons at the age of six. Jimmie’s home continued to be filled with music whenever cousin Ronnie Van Zant used his living room as a rehearsal space for the band that eventually became Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The tragedy of Ronnie’s death in 1977 inspired Jimmie to focus on his own music career to honor the life and legacy of his cousin.
He formed his own group, signed with a record label and recorded his first album. “Southern Comfort” included the single “Ronnie’s Song” co-written by Jimmie as a tribute to his beloved cousin. He still plays this number as requested at his live shows. In 2008, Jimmie released a second album “My Name is Jimmie,” which included the hits “Ray Ray’s Juke Joint” and “Redneck Revolution.
“Cut from the Same Cloth,” Jimmie’s upcoming album featuring collaboration with James Dean Hicks, Charlie Craig and Tommy Southern, has already yielded popular singles in the UK.
In 2011 Jimmie and the band appeared in the made-for-television documentary Boots ‘N’ BBQ Presents: Grills Gone Wild – from the Back Yard to Back Stage. The film, now available on DVD, is awaiting its network air date. Also in the works is a national television show, currently in development with Jimmie’s management team and production company Chappell Films and Entertainment.
With conviction Jimmie states, “I have always believed that music can change peoples’ lives and if I can do something to make someone’s life a little more enjoyable, then I feel I have done my job well. That is why I am here and that is also the reason why there is Southern Rock.”
With a microphone in hand and his family in his heart, Jimmie honors his “Freebyrd” family legacy with the music that is rooted in his soul in every song he sings.