Though he may claim otherwise, Big Jim is much more than just another misplaced maritimer. Raised by his grandparents in Nova Scotia, Jim's earliest musical influences came from his grandfather who played and taught accordion. These influences ranged from Strauss waltzes to Harry Hibbs and Don Messer. "I remember going to family parties with dad as a kid and someone giving me a set of spoons and putting me in a corner. I don't remember leaving that corner and I still like playing the spoons."
At age ten Jim discovered an old guitar in the house. A local guitarist showed him a couple chords, and told him to buy a book. Then he was off daily into the deep recesses of his bedroom, in a two-bedroom trailer, playing for hours until his fingers bled. A year later Jim started writing his own songs because it was just easier than trying to copy someone else's. By fourteen, Jim began performing on stage at variety concerts at school. While attending high school and working various jobs, ranging from taxi dispatcher to lifeguard, Jim also took classical voice lessons, sang in church choirs, school madrigal groups, stage bands, and the Pictou County honours choir. Then in the evenings he fronted and played bass in his own local three piece rock group. "Those were great times to play. We had a couple regular gigs but the best was when someone needed a backup band and we'd get paid to play for other solo artists. We got to play in some pretty far out places."
Jim's rock and roll career took a halt when he decided to get serious and get a real job as a teacher. It was at teacher's college however where Jim discovered folk music and that he had been writing folk songs for years. "The teaching came naturally because of all my work at the Y, but coffee houses were an exciting discovery for me at that time. I loved learning to teach but the music became a necessary release that has stayed with me always. I've often referred to my guitar as the only curves I could count on."
Jim's career as an educator gave him the opportunity to live, work, travel, and play music in Japan and much of the Pacific Rim, as well as enabling him to travel extensively throughout Canada and the United States. Big Jim's songs range from poignant and touching, to just plain fun. And when his roots are showing you never know what you'll hear next, that is, if you live in Japan and are lucky enough to catch one of his raucous live shows!