Saturday night, Marine Corps veteran and America’s Got Talent finalist Jimmy Rose will take the stage at the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series, playing a free show in partnership with Freedom Fest 2015. The festival, presented by nonprofit organization Veterans Serving Veterans, celebrates the service of veterans and helps spread awareness about PTSD.
Learn more about Rose before his free show!
America’s Got Talent
In 2013, country singer-songwriter Jimmy Rose stunned the judges of the NBC reality competition America’s Got Talent (AGT) with a heartfelt original ballad, “Coal Keeps the Lights On,” inspired by his experience working as a coal miner. Despite producers warning him about the risks of auditioning with an original song, Rose felt that “Coal” was the right choice to represent him as an artist.
“I told my girlfriend, if I get the opportunity to walk out on that stage, ‘Coal Keeps the Lights On’ is my song,” said Rose in an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader. “I'll represent my hometown and that I am a singer-songwriter on that stage.”
His gamble paid off—Rose advanced to the quarterfinals with unanimous support from the judges and continued on to the finals, where he finished in third place. Among his AGT highlights were performances of Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” and a duet of “I Hold On” with Dierks Bentley. Later that year, he toured in 35 cities across the country as part of America’s Got Talent Live.
Much of Rose’s music is inspired by his own experiences, including time served in the United States Marine Corps from 2001–2005 with deployment in Iraq and Japan. It was overseas he began to compose original songs, after a fellow Marine introduced him to the guitar.
“I immediately picked up the writing aspect of it,” said Rose. “Being away from home and getting that sensation of missing home and family and friends, that drove me into writing and putting my feelings and expressions into words.”
After returning to his hometown of Pineville, Ky., Rose continued to write music, though he initially found it difficult to adjust to civilian life. One of his songs, “Freedom,” was inspired by his struggle with PTSD:
He walks those streets while others sleep
In a house, in a home, in a nice warm bed
He lost it all when he lost himself
To the memories built in his head
Such a long way back home
In his mind, such a long way back home
"The military and the VA (Veteran's Administration) helped me a lot with [PTSD], and I've hurdled those problems and pretty much smashed through them,” said Rose. “I hope I can be a light to other veterans out there that have had the same troubles I have had."
Freedom Fest 2015
Rose will take the stage at the Levitt AMP Middlesboro Pop-up Park on Saturday at 7 p.m. with the Jimmy Rose Band as part of the free Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series partnering with Freedom Fest 2015.
The festival also includes performances by The New Busy, Malachi, Jade Robertson and the Nate Cornett Band as well as a 5K walk/run, guided ATV ride, fitness challenge and more. While all concerts are free, other events require registration with proceeds benefitting Veterans Serving Veterans.