She is a country singer born in South Whitley, Indiana, who grew up on a farm and was shown how to pay the guitar by her father. She starting singing in her local church as a child, with her mother being the pianist, and she progressed from there to singing at high school and in coffeehouses. She took her further education at Indiana University where she was awarded an Elementary Education degree.
Singing was the way she wanted to go though, and began working in cities such as Dallas, Los Angeles and Memphis and became an extremely successful singer of commercial jingles on adverts by companies such as Coca-Cola, 7-Up and United Airlines. This got her noticed by artists in the country music industry and after moving to Nashville in 1975 she became a session singer and has since performed with acts that include Buzz Cason, Marshall Chapman, Barbara Dickson, Johnny Duncan, Donna Fargo, Crystal Gayle, Vern Gosdin, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Dean Martin, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, Mickey Newbury, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Eddie Rabbitt, Charlie Rich, Tommy Roe , Tanya Tucker, Mel Tillis, Ricky Skaggs, Hank Snow, B.J. Thomas, Conway Twitty and Bobby Vinton.
This led to people asking who she was and she would soon be asked to perform duets with Moe Bandy and Merle Haggard to name just a couple, and by 1977 she landed her own recording contract. This would be the making of her with at least 36 hit singles that include the No. 1s “Always Have, Always Will”, “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me Baby”, “He’s a Heartache”, “Let’s Stop Talkin’ About It”, “Tell Me a Lie” and “You’re Heart’s Not In It”.
A very busy recording artist she has appeared on at least 23 albums of her own that include titles such the Grammy Award winning It Ain’t Easy Being Easy plus From the Heart, Love Notes, Singer of Songs and Somebody Else’s Fire and also I Love What Love is Doing To Me/He Ain’t You by Lynn Anderson, Son of a Son of a Sailor by Jimmy Buffett , Friendship by Ray Charles, Nights are Forever by England Dan & John Ford Coley, Brother Juke Box by Don Everly, Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 by Johnny Paycheck, Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential ’70s Masters by Elvis Presley to name just a few.
Recognised for her contribution to music she has been named “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the Academy of Country Music, Billboard, The Country Music Association and Music City News among others and is also on the Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars.
Although having her last country chart hit in 1989, she continues to give live performances and record for her own label JMF records and released Bouncin’ Back in 2000 and The Bluegrass Sessions in 2004. An adventure into television in the 1980s had her appearing as a criminal in the episode “Happy Birthday, General Lee” in the popular show Dukes of Hazzard.
Wanting to give something back to her community, she began the Janie Fricke Scholarship at the School of Music in Indiana University for members of the Singing Hoosiers ensemble.
Jimmy Buffett recordings
Cheeseburger in Paradise (Jimmy Buffett )
Here she is performing two of her songs….