News: 2004
December

NEED LAST-MINUTE CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS?

How about a pre-ordered copy of one (or both) of my new CDs? True, they won't be available until early next year, but hey--one less thing to wrap, right? I've even updated the Discography page with a handy shopping cart to make your holiday shopping as painless as possible. And if you've been a good boy or girl this year, why not treat yourself, too? Have a Happy Holiday!

NEW REVIEWS

I've updated the Reviews section to include new comments from El McMeen, Jim Earp, John Sherman, and Amrit Sond. More to follow soon . . .

November

UPDATE ON THE NEW CDs

I'm proud to announce that I will be releasing two new CDs early next year on Solid Air Records. Celtic Guitar will contain 21 tracks of traditional Irish and Scottish melodies, and Solo Guitar will feature 15 new original compositions. See the Discography page for details.

JIM'S NEW GUITARS

I recently decided to have two custom guitars built by luthier Kent Hamblin of Telluride, Colorado. I'll be updating the Guitars page with details soon.

September

ON THE AIRWAVES

Songs from Castlerea have been getting airplay on "The Lovey Doodle Show", an acoustic folk radio program on KVMR (89.5 FM) in California. You can listen to a live webcast of the show on alternate Tuesdays, by following the link from the KVMR website. Thanks to the show's host, Mark Ostrov, for supporting Castlerea and other fingerstyle guitar music!

ON THE ROAD . . .

I'm on my way down to NC for the recording sessions (see below). I'll provide an update on how things went when I get back.

July

WEBSITE GETS NEW DUDS

I've had the black and green color scheme for nearly two years now, so it was time to change things up a bit. Gone is the green, and in is a brownish/copper color. Many of the old graphics have disappeared as well, since they were designed for the old scheme. I'll be adding lots more photographs throughout the site as time permits. For now, however, please excuse the bare-bones layout.

BACK IN THE STUDIO

Next month, I'll be heading down to Fairewood Studios in North Carolina, with the intention of recording two new CDs! One will be comprised entirely of traditional Irish and Scottish tunes, and the other will feature my original songs. I'm very pleased and honored that Al Petteway has agreed to handle engineering and co-producing once again. If I've been a little on the quiet side recently, it's because I'm spending so much time writing and arranging in preparation. Stay tuned for more details . . .

May

K&K PICKUPS' ARTIST OF THE MONTH

I am currently being recognized as the Artist of the Month on the K&K Sound website. I use the K&K Pure Western pickup in all of my guitars. The Pure Western is a unique soundboard transducer that really captures the guitar's natural tone. Great folks at K&K, too!

April

CD SIGNING APPEARANCE

As part of Calvert County's 350th Anniversary celebration, I will be joining other local authors and songwriters for a book/CD signing appearance at the public library in Prince Frederick on Saturday, April 17th, from 1-4 pm. Stop by and say hello!

REVIEW BY JOHN HORNEY OF THE CAPITAL

Castlerea was recently reviewed by John Horney, the music critic for The Capital, a newspaper in Annapolis. Despite admitting an unfamiliarity with my style (for example, he refers to me as a "classical" guitarist), he does have some interesting things to say. You can read his comments on the Reviews page, or while it's up, you can see the original review on Hometown Annapolis' Music Reviews.

NEW CD IN THE WORKS

I'll finally be heading back into the studio in August to record the follow-up to Castlerea. Once again, Al Petteway will work his magic as my producer and engineer. I've been busy writing and arranging new material; like Castlerea, the next CD will feature a combination of traditional Celtic tunes and original, contemporary compositions. I'm hoping it will be ready for release this fall.

March

LESSON WITH EL McMEEN

I'm excited to have an opportunity to study with legendary Celtic fingerstyle guitarsist El McMeen. El is one of my guitar heroes, and has a reputation as an outstanding teacher. I'm looking forward to learning from him!

February

Quel domage! J'ai oublie le francais que j'ai apprendu a l'ecole. (What a shame! I've forgotten the French that I learned in school.)

Another example of music's ability to transcend language and culture: I recently received a review of Castlerea in French, written by a guitarist who lives in Switzerland. I've posted it (and a loose translation to English) on the Reviews page. C'est magnifique, no?

JIM TEAMS UP WITH K&K

I'm pleased to become an endorser for K&K pickups. The K&K Pure Western pickups are the most natural-sounding acoustic pickups I've tried. I now have a Pure Western installed in all of my guitars.

FINGERSTYLE GUITAR MAGAZINE

It looks like "County Fair" will be featured in an upcoming issue of Fingerstyle Guitar magazine. Each issue of FG comes with a CD that includes the songs transcribed in the magazine--a great way to learn how to play some new fingerstyle tunes, or just discover some great new music.

January

RECOGNITION FROM THE MSAC

The Maryland State Arts Council has selected me as a recipient for an Individual Artist Award in Solo Instrumental Performance. These grants are "awarded to Maryland artists through an anonymous, competitive process to encourage and sustain their pursuit of artistic excellence."