I’ve been doing guest spots on Thursday nights for almost 20 years now and I feature sidemen and pickers as opposed to artists per say. When I got the opportunity to have Jimmy as my guest I was very excited.
His reputation as a premiere blues guitarist preceded him and I was looking forward to pickin’ with him. He certainly did not disappoint me and he was the stellar blues guitar/singer that I was told he was. As I usually do with my guests, we discussed music in between sets and he said he was very interested in bluegrass music. Well, that got my juices going because my background in music is a healthy exposure to playing bluegrass with the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Byron Berline, Roland White and a host of others. I also played guitar for and toured with the Good Brothers over a five year period. So on his second visit, I insisted Jimmy bring his mandolin and we played bluegrass for a large part of the night and it was fantastic.
Jimmy can play the mandolin as well as anybody I’ve ever played with, including Ricky Skaggs and the rest. He can also sing the high tenor vocal part to the traditional Stanley Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Flatt and Scruggs, and in particular Bill Munroe songs. And he does it with uncanny authenticity.
Lately, I asked Jimmy to join me for a bluegrass night on a Thursday night at Colonel Mustard’s Bar and Grill in Newmarket, (where I play every Thursday night), and we were accompanied by the outstanding five string banjo player Chris Quinn and acoustic bass player Alec Fraser, (bassist for Jeff Healey) and the night was an overwhelming success. Even without rehearsal, it was a flawless and spontaneous evening of outstanding bluegrass music. The evening also featured Jimmy playing some fiddle with unbelievable taste and skill.
I am a huge fan of Jimmy as a musician. And would include him in the class of some of the very best bluegrass musicians I’ve ever played with (and I have played with some of the best!).
It may be the hardest genre of music to play right and Jimmy can certainly do that!
Lou Moore, one of Canada's Best Bluegrass Flat Pickers.