Homegrown talent

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Man finds

success in country music

Luverne native Bobby Tomberlin is the co-writer of two songs climbing the country music charts.

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"One More Day", co-written with Steven Dale Jones and recorded by four-time CMA winners Diamond Rio is already in the Top 20 after just seven weeks. "A Good Day To Run" co-written and recorded by newcomer Darryl Worley is also in the Top 20. Both songs have videos on C.M.T.

Bobby is the son of Luverne residents Hubert and Betty Tomberlin. Bobby started playing guitar by ear at the age of 5 after his uncle Robert Pritchett of Bradlyton and his late uncle James Sipper taught him a few chords. At the age of 11, Joe Rex Sport gave him a job as a radio announcer at WLVN Radio.

After graduation, Bobby worked at WKYD in Andalusia, then moved to Muscle Shoals, Ala. in 1988 and worked as music director and announcer at WLAY. While in Muscle Shoals, he started learning the craft of songwriting from Rose Hill, Alabama native Billy Henderson, members of the group Shenendoah and other hit writers in the Alabama music town.

In 1989, he had his first song published through Charlie Pride's publishing company. In 1990, Bobby moved to Nashville, TN when country music legend Mel Tillis offered him his first songwriting contract. In 1994, Bobby became a staff writer for Reba McEntire's publishing company.

In 1995, Bobby signed with CURB Records publishing company and has happily been there ever since. CURB's record label is the home of artists Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, Hank Williams, Jr., JoDee Messina among others.

Bobby's songs have been featured on three previous Diamond Rio CDs, two of which have been certified Gold. "One More Day" will be the title of Diamond Rio's new CD scheduled for release after the first of the year.

"A Good Day To Run" is featured on Darryl Worley's "Hard Rain Don't Last" CD. Bobby has had songs also recorded by Chely Wright, Linda Davis, Christian Grammy winner Russ Taff, Hank Williams daughter, Jett Williams and several others.

Some of Bobby's co-writers have included Brenda Lee, Connie Smith, Hank Williams Jr., Eddy Arnold, Chad Brock, members of Diamond Rio and Bill Anderson. Last year, Bobby shared a copyright with Loretta Lynn.

In 1998, after writing with Bill Anderson, he asked Bobby to become his sound engineer. Bobby tours with Bill anywhere from 50-75 days a year and mixes his stage show and also works with him at the Grand Ole Opry, where Bill hosts Opry Backstage on TNN.

Bobby says the highlight of being in the music business is getting to meet and know so many of his musical heroes. One of his favorite encounters was a couple of years ago when he engineered an interview with his favorite actor, Andy Griffith.