I met Jimmy on a gig with Lou Moore and Alec Fraser. We quickly introduced ourselves to each other, talked for a few minutes, tuned our banjos, fiddles and mandolins and we got onstage. The band was on fire that night! The groove was perfect and fast was really fast!! Jimmy was amazing throughout! We had a great night of music, and made our bond based on a great night of musical conversation from opposite ends of the stage; eclipsed by the very planetary Alec Fraser and Lou Moore blocking our view of each other. We picked all night for a packed crowd and then Jimmy and I jammed for another half hour on two mandolins. We traded business cards and left it at that. That’s how much I know about Jimmy.
Cannonball Rag Promo Video by The Beauts featuring Jimmy Bowskill-Great Instrumental
Ice Covered Bridges Promo Video by The Beauts featuring Jimmy Bowskill-Great Harmonies
Jimmy Bowskill has taken a new turn in what has already been an amazing career. We all know the man can deliver hardcore Blues in a mainline to your soul. He’s Bonafide; recognized by a peers like Jeff Beck. That’s clear. Well, Jimmy’s now on to bluegrass. I guess I am not surprised. Blues and bluegrass have very certain roots.
The father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, developed his sound through his many family members and their music. When Bill was just old enough to venture off the property, he found Arnold Schultz, a black Bluesman who played the guitar and fiddle. Monroe spent many years working with Arnold Schultz, playing barn dances, and socials. Monroe, who would go on to fame as a mandolin player; performed on guitar while Schultz played fiddle. Schultz also taught Monroe a deep appreciation for the blues; clear evidence of the blues runs throughout Monroe’s hundreds of songs and tunes, his mandolin style and his singing. Blues and bluegrass grew up together. The two are inseparable.
Jimmy’s interest in bluegrass is to be expected. He already displays a lot of the same principles in his music that are essential in bluegrass. Having high standards for one’s timing, taste, and note choices will get you far in the bluegrass crowd. Like all good bluegrass pickers, he loves the melody and strives to make the words land in your lap when he takes a solo. His mandolin playing is riveting and free of any clichés. He understands the roots of it all, and he always respects the roots but it’s Jimmy making all the artistic choices. Of course he sings; and he loves the good bluegrass songs! It’s a sonic feast!
Hey Jimmy! You need a banjo picker, you give me call. Chris Quinn, Foggy Hogtown Boys – Oct 6, 2015.
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.
In Jim's own words....
Biggest mandolin influences would be John Duffey, Jesse McReynolds, and Ricky Scaggs.