Being based in Dalby (Queensland), Jim played in various local bands and in 1983 formed his own group – Hell 4 Leather. This band worked constantly including a 3 year stint one night/day every week at the ‘Settlers Inn’ in Toowoomba then in 2000 it disbanded, having played all over Southern Queensland and in Tamworth . Jim also played (pedal steel) in the backup band for the Coca Cola Show in Tamworth for a few years until the sponsorship changed as well as a similar role at the Gympie Muster. He was a member of the Dalby Country Music Club for many years concentrating on the backing band support. He lists his pedal steel influences as many including Sonny Burnett, Norm Bodkin, Ralph Mooney and Dicky Overbey – “I love the ‘Honky Tonk’ Texas sound and having a good jazz grounding has always been an asset for ad lib and backup playing. I have always listened to Sax players to learn ad lib phrasing ideas too. I rarely try to play the Pedal Steel favourites as they have already been played by the best players. I play with a plectrum and two finger picks (not a thumb pick) - probably a product of doing fast changes from guitar to pedal steel. Playing backup as compared to solo playing on pedal steel is almost two different worlds”.
Jim has played backup for many name artists over the years including Jimmy Little, John McSweeney, Anne Kirkpatrick, Evelyn Berry and Kerry Kennedy to name a few of the better known artists, and can remember backing Troy Cassar-Daly on the Coke show when Troy was about 16 and just starting out.
Jim was also an active member of Steel Guitar Australia when it was going. Later working with Peter Williams on the Qld Steel Guitar newsletter. He once interviewed Doug Jernigan when he came to Brisbane and this interview was published in that newsletter.
These days Jim’s playing is mainly as a guest artist, some recording work for various vocalists and he also does guitar workshops for music clubs.
Equipment: GFI 10 Keyless, JEM 12 Universal, Fender Strat 1979 25th Anniversary & 2004 50th Anniversary Custom, Peavey Special 160 Amp (with custom EV 12” speaker), Hilton Volume Pedal, Zoom Effects.