At the age of 12, Jim stumbled through a backyard performance of the Kiss classic “Calling Doctor Love” and has never looked back. As a teenager, he played in various church groups and garage bands, performed in community and college musical theater, and won a Maryland Distinguished Scholar in the Arts award. Upon graduation from Towson University, he embarked on a performing career and has entertained audiences along the East Coast ever since.
After a decade of fine-tuning his skills in a variety of Maryland club bands, Jim formed the roots-rock duo, Vox Americana, with fellow vocalist Tracy Calhoun. A little too rockin’ for your average acoustic duo, Jim and Tracy played festivals, concert series, colleges and universities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
During this time period, Jim was also traveling back and forth to Nashville, where he took songwriting lessons from Jon Ims (writer of Trisha Yearwood’s hit song, “She’s In Love With the Boy”) and performed at songwriter nights at the legendary Bluebird Café and Douglas Corner.
Absorbing as much as possible in his time in Nashville, Jim wrote a dozen songs for the duo and, in 2001, Jim and Tracy recorded their debut CD, Vox Americana! The tracks “She Talks Like a Sailor” (The Girlfriend Song) and “When the Heart Says Yes” won Noteworthy awards from American Songwriter Magazine and Billboard International Song Contest. Billboard called the songs “exceptionally strong and commercially appealing”. “She Talks Like a Sailor” also placed as a top ten finalist in the national Best of Country 2001 Songwriter Showcase in Atlanta, GA.
The duo was voted Best Country Act in the Music Monthly Reader’s Poll for 2002.
After a short hiatus from performing, Jim joined tropical-rock act, Captain Quint, as lead singer and guitarist. During Jim’s tenure with the band, Quint recorded two CDs and toured the East Coast and the southern panhandle, playing shows from Cleveland to Key West, Baltimore to Bourbon Street.
The band was fortunate to play some fantastic venues, including Nissan Pavilion (VA), Post-Gazette Pavilion (PA), Blossom Center (OH), Ram’s Head Onstage and Ram’s Head Live (MD), Universal Studios (FL), as well as clubs in New Orleans, Pensacola and beyond.
Quint was also booked annually to perform at the Meeting of the Minds in Key West, where Parrotheads from all over the country come to party! Of course, some of the band’s best moments onstage were as opening act for the legendary Jimmy Buffett at some of these venues!
In addition to pop music, Jim has a life-long devotion to musical theater. As a teenager and young adult, he performed leading roles in shows such as West Side Story, A Chorus Line, The Boyfriend, Bye Bye Birdie, Godspell, Anything Goes, Li’l Abner and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Fast forward 20 years or so and, in 2007, Jim became Musical Director for the newly founded Young People’s Theater Project of Harford County.
Joining longtime friend and Artistic Director, Bill Maddox, Jim jumped at the chance to coach young performers vocally onstage as well as bring his instrumental skills to the orchestra pit. He musically directed Annie, Grease and Charlie Brown for YPTP, contributing not only guitar, but bass and drums in the pit as well.
Recently, Jim has played guitar for college and community productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Civil War, 13: The Musical, Fame, High School Musical, and Rent.
The Next Generation
From 2009 to 2011, Jim was musical director for the local teen rock band, Cryin’ Out Loud, training them to be the next generation of great musicians. COL performs regularly at a variety of major venues and events in Harford County, often alongside adult professional bands.
Many of Jim’s current and former students can be found not only playing professionally in rock bands, but also jamming in high school jazz ensembles, performing in community theater pit bands or church worship groups, and pursuing music degrees at the college level, including the famed Berklee College of Music.
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