Jim Rooney

Jim Rooney

Jim Rooney has been involved in music ever since his debut in
1954 on Boston’s WCOP “Hayloft Jamboree.” In 1960, Jim teamed up
with banjoist Bill Keith to form a musical partnership which lasted
until Bill’s death in 2015. Jim was at the center of the folk revival of
the ‘60’s, managing the famous Club 47 in Cambridge, home to such
as Joan Baez, Tom Rush, The Kweskin Jug Band, Geoff & Maria
Muldaur, and many others. He was also a Director and the talent
coordinator of the Newport Folk festival, which introduced such rising
young artists as James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Arlo Guthrie, Van
Morrison, John Hartford and Kris Kristofferson.
Jim subsequently lived in Woodstock, N.Y., during which time he
managed Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Sound Studios, where the
Band, Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, John Hartford, and Paul
Butterfield recorded. He also became a charter member of the
Woodstock Mountains Revue along with Bill Keith, Happy & Artie
Traum, John Herald, Pat Alger, Roly Salley, and Larry Campbell. Jim
toured extensively with the Revue as well as with Peter Rowan and
Bill Keith in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. In subsequent years Jim also
played with Bill Keith, Eric Weissberg, and Kenny Kosek in the New
Blue Velvet Band.
In 1976 Jim moved to Nashville where he became associated with
“Cowboy” Jack Clement. That association led Jim into engineering and
producing records. He is best known for his work with many singer-
songwriters including Grammy nominated albums with John Prine, Iris
DeMent, Peter Rowan, Tom Paxton and a Grammy winning album
(“Other Voices, Other Rooms”) with Nanci Griffith. With Allen
Reynolds, Jim produced three albums with Hal Ketchum, including the
gold album “Past The Point of Rescue.” In 2009 Jim received a
“Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Americana Music Association
for his work as a producer/engineer. Recently Jim was honored by the
International Bluegrass Music Association with a “Distinguished
Achievement Award.”
In 1986 Jim became a founding partner in the Forerunner Music
Group, publishing the songs of Pat Alger, Hal Ketchum, Pete Wasner,
Shawn Camp, Tony Arata, and Tim O’Brien, among others. The
company had chart success with hits by such artists as Garth Brooks,
Trisha Yearwood, Hal Ketchum, Vince Gill, and Brooks & Dunn.
Forerunner Music was sold to Universal Songs.
For many years Jim and his wife Carol Langstaff spent part of
the year in Ireland outside of Galway, where he produced albums with
Sean Keane and The Lee Valley String Band. Jim now lives in Vermont
and for 15 years assisted Carol in the sound design and production of
performances by her Flock Dance Troupe. He has also continued to
work in Nashville with several artists as a producer, including John
Prine, Iris DeMent, Tom Paxton, and Tom Rush, He performs
occasionally in Nashville and Ireland with his stellar group ROONEY’S
IRREGULARS.
Jim has written three books about music: “BOSSMEN: BILL
MONROE & MUDDY WATERS” (JRP Books), “BABY LET ME FOLLOW
YOU DOWN: THE ILLUSTRATED STORY OF THE CAMBRIDGE FOLK
YEARS” co-written with Eric Von Schmidt (University of
Massachusetts Press), and his memoir, “IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN;
A MUSICAL ODYSSEY” (U. of Illinois Press)(Blackstone Audiobooks).
For more about Jim visit: www.jimrooneyproductions.com

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