NEW MADISON — Describing the remainder of Tommy Renfro’s year as “busy” might be an understatement.
The Christian Contemporary recording artist, a born-and-bred native of New Madison, Ohio, will be performing a number of engagements, including a 7-9 p.m. Gazebo performance at the upcoming Darke County Fair August 28.
This is in addition to his day jobs, splitting time at two of his alma maters — teaching science at Tri-Village High School and education at Indiana University East at Richmond, Indiana.
Though the musician may be familiar to many in this area, with songs on rotation at local radio stations 97.5 FM “The Tiger” and 88.9 “Joy FM,” Renfro has begun to make a name for himself beyond Darke County.
He’s featured in the current issue of the magazine Nashville Music Guide and has made his sound known internationally through multiple social media channels.
Further, he is currently working on new songs for an album he hopes to release in early 2016.
“That is, if it all goes as planned,” Renfro said.
Songs for the album are being recorded at Rockporium Studios in Marietta, Georgia, with Christian music producer Scotty Wilbanks of Third Day at the helm. So far, three songs are finished and he hopes in the meantime to raise more money to complete further recordings.
“Recording with Grammy Award winners costs Grammy Award money,” said Renfro.
The musician’s style is not easy to pigeon hole under the “Christian Contemporary” label. Renfro describes his music as “Southern, soulful country,” citing a mix of broad musical influences.
“I’m a country guy at heart, but with a ‘pop’ twist,” he said. “I would describe it as, ‘If Travis Tritt and Keith Urban had lunch with Michael W. Smith.’”
A very strong influence on Renfro was the late Christian artist Rich Mullins.
“Rich’s music transcends time — he was a timeless writer,” he said.
In addition, a close relationship with the Mullins family gave impetus to his faith and music career. “Rich’s uncle and his mom were big influences on us as kids,” he related.
Renfro credits his wife, Jordan, an intervention specialist at Greenville’s Woodland Heights Primary School, as a both a pillar of support and an inspiration for his music.
He chuckled when asked how he and his wife met.
“I like to tell people we met at a bar,” he said, laughing. “I was playing a Christmas Tour at the Dublin Pub in Dayton’s Oregon District. She was tagging along with a friend and came to hear me.”
His Christian faith remains an important, if not all-encompassing, part of his life. When not teaching or touring, he performs twice a month as part of the worship team at Living Waters Ministries in Versailles.
Though his music has accomplished a broader reach, and his name in the industry is becoming more widely recognized, he says he and his wife have no plans to “Go Nashville.”
“We love Darke County,” he said. “When people have asked us why we haven’t moved to a larger area like Nashville, I tell them we feel very blessed where we are. We have good things happening right now, right here.”
For more information on upcoming performance dates and song releases, visit Renfro’s website at www.tommyrenfro.com.
Erik Martin may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-569-4314.