Jim Boggia
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Jim Boggia


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The best kept secret in music


"Safe in Sound Review"

I have waited five years for a new musical opus from Philadelphia native Jim Boggia . Well the wait was worth it as this is one of the pop albums of the year. And by far. I already knew how important this man was when I first heard his 2001 release “Fidelity is the Enemy” which is a virtual musical shooting star. This status was confirmed when I had a chance to meet Jim when he accompanied Jill Sobule and Mary Kate O’Neil four some acoustic concerts in France. His presence, his sense of humor, his guitar playing and his voice literally captivated me. He is part of the grand tradition of great songwriters in the pop pantheon: Jason Falkner, Tomy Keene, Paul McCartney (which he can sing magnificently, I have never heard such an incredible cover of “Maybe I’m Amazed” as the one sung by Jim). On this album he has some magnificent people helping out: from Pete Thomas (from Elvis Costello’s Attractions) to Butch (the Eels) to Aimée Mann to Wayne Kramer (yes the guitarist from the MC5) to Emitt Rhodes (another member of the pantheon of Pop I alluded to above) to Justin Meldal Johnsen (Beck). But most importantly the heart of the matter are the songs: luminous, powerful, melodic, intimate, essential. You will listen to these pop classics again and again as the days go by after you first play this record. A true goldsmith. If there is one pop album to buy this year (along with the latest from Brendan Benson) you must get “ Safe in Sound .” This is not merely a recommendation, it is an order! - Rock and Roll Report

"Safe in Sound Review"

Philly's adopted son Jim Boggia is another first-rate audio architect, as you'll hear on his new "Safe in Sound" album, coming out on Tuesday (May 3), and with his CD release party/concert the next night (May 4) at World Cafe Live.

Known for his encyclopedic knowledge and appreciation of music, Boggia likes to recall, "I've been told I was singing melodies before I started speaking words, and I started playing the guitar when I was 5. I have no conception of a life before music."

A fine storyteller, Boggia has slightly raspy, earnest vocals and a refined tune sense that evolve the story of Weather Underground fugitive Bernadine Dohrn into a great, rocking anthem ("Underground"), and he makes the lushly arranged "Where's the Party?" an anti-drug morality play you won't soon forget.

His auditory powers heightened by partial blindness, Boggia, with producer Julian Coryell, layers the album with lush instrumental flourishes, intriguing sound bites and naturalistic found sounds - plus an especially great surprise at album's end.

You'll surely detect his deep appreciation of Paul McCartney on the likes of "Let Me Believe (Evan's Lament)" a co-write with the semi-legendary McCartney emulator Emmitt Rhodes.

And Boggia's admiration for Elvis Costello comes to the fore on "Final Word" and "Made Me So Happy," the latter featuring a vocal assist by friend/fan Jill Soubule.

But I'm equally taken with songs that are undeniably Original House of Boggia, especially the glorious "Once," which deserves to be a rock radio staple. - Philadelphia Daily News

"Interview with Jim Boggia"

Jim Boggia’s star in the Philadelphia music community is firmly cemented. The multi-talented singer-songwriter is a scene fixture, and he drew regional acclaim as a member of local supergroup 4 Way Street (with Ben Arnold, Scott Bricklin and Joseph Parsons). Boggia is making a national push with his new solo CD, “Safe in Sound,” due Tuesday on New York City label Bluhammock Music. The 12-song effort is chock full of well-crafted pop songs, and features guest appearances by Aimee Mann, Emitt Rhodes, Jill Sobule and Wayne Kramer. Metro caught up with the West Philadelphia resident before a gig at The Point in Bryn Mawr, where he opened for Mann’s husband, Michael Penn.

You decided to go out to Los Angeles to record this one?

JIM BOGGIA: It was for a couple reasons. One was to just be away from my day-to-day routine - having all the stuff of your normal life encroaching on the making of a record - and also because I decided to work with Julian Coryell and Joe Zook as the producers. They’re both based out there and knew a lot of musicians and studios ... Also, I was making the record in the fall and I have such bad winter depression that the idea of being in sunshine for an extra two and a half months was a great draw.

Did that change the feel of it?

This album has a fairly broad range. There’s some very upbeat, very happy tunes, and then there’s some quasi-suicidal tunes, and then stuff in the middle. That comes more from the writing process. Once you have the songs you know you’re going have, that determines what the tone of the album is going to be.

Your first solo CD ( “Fidelity is the Enemy” ) came out in 2001. Were you already working on the follow-up when 4 Way Street came about?

Yeah. I thought it was going to be another DIY, indie thing. What people don’t really understand about 4 Way is that none of us intended it to be such a big project. It really was supposed to be one show here (at The Point) at Christmastime, a cool thing to do for all of our fans. It just started taking on a life of its own, but we were having fun doing it and people seemed to enjoy it. That was all great but the longer we did it the more allencompassing it became.

Do you still play songs from the 4 Way CD (“Pretzel Park”) like ”Several Thousand”?

It’s amazing with “Several Thousand” (which also appeared on “Fidelity is the Enemy”). Even on as small a scale career as I’ve had, you get that experience of “the hit that people want to hear” and the experience of “the hit that I just don’t want to play.” I’ve absolutely promised myself that I don’t slavishly play it all the time, but I also play it enough of the time that people who come to a few shows will get their ”Several Thousand” fix. The hope is that as this album comes out there will be one or two more songs that get to the “Several Thousand” level.

You’ve been doing music full-time for a couple years?

Yeah, seven or eight. I started playing in other people’s bands, doing session work and jingles, and writing stuff for other people. More and more of my income is playing my own shows and selling my own records. It’s nice. I’m trying to push that bigger and bigger. What I really hope to accomplish with this record is, at least throughout most of the country, to have a core audience so I have the ability to go to different cities and play. - Metro

"Jim Boggia Quote"

Jim Boggia is a breath of fresh air with his warm inviting rasp and masterful songwriting abilities. One listen to Jim's upcoming release Safe in Sound and you can't help but to be drawn into his addictive pop lair. - New York Press

"Jim Boggia Interview/Review"

A die-hard Beatles fan, Jim Boggia wasn't satisfied with throwing "Get Back" on the CD player to celebrate an anniversary of the band's final live performance on the rooftop of a London music studio.

No, the Philadelphia-based singer had to recruit friends to recreate it — song by song, note for note. It had to be on the same January day the Beatles did it, at the exact same time. He even insisted the rooftop be on a building the same number of stories as the London studio.

And, in a serendipitous coincidence Boggia couldn't quite plan, angry cops arrived to pull the plug — just as they had done to the Beatles.

Get the idea Boggia is a music geek?

"Safe in Sound," Boggia's collection of, appropriately enough, Beatlesque pop-rock, is his first national release and includes guest shots by Aimee Mann), Jill Sobule), the MC5's Wayne Kramer) and 1970s cult artist Emitt Rhodes.

"It's a very positive side of not getting signed for a really long time," he said of his crowded address book.

Along with making his music easy on the ears of casual listeners, Boggia adds layers that music history buffs will appreciate. His song "Underground" tells the story of a former Weather Underground fugitive, so he asked Kramer — whose Detroit-based band was in the center of radical politics in the late 1960s — to play guitar on it.

Music has always been a refuge for Boggia, who had a record collection when he was four years old. He's liable to love a song simply for a clever bass line in the third verse, or for how a tambourine kick-starts a chorus.

Blind in one eye with only partial sight in another, that disability intensifies the aural experience for him.

That's the secret to why he called the disc "Safe in Sound."

"I don't feel very comfortable in a lot of social situations," he said. "I don't feel very good with people. But I'm OK with a record player or an instrument — or even a McDonald's cup with a straw in it that I can move up and down into something that sounds musical.

"I'm much more comfortable in that realm," he said. "It's definitely my safety zone." - Associated Press

"Jim Boggia Review"

When you first hear the song "Made Me So Happy," you would swear that you were listening to some long-lost Elvis Costello track.

That is part of the fun with the music that Jim Boggia makes on "Safe in Sound," his latest CD. Boggia was declared legally blind in his left eye almost from the day he was born, and over the years he lost most of the sight in his right eye as well.

Boggia devoured just about any record he could get his hands on as a kid, and once the music was mentally digested, the aspiring artist would do his best to emulate the artists that caught his ear.

The results are readily audible on "Safe in Sound." "Shine," a tune that Boggia co-wrote with friend Aimee Mann, leads off the album in a lovely fashion.

From there, one can almost trace the musical mood Boggia was in while writing a particular song. "Once" and "Let Me Believe (Evan's Lament)" just ooze that lovely Beatles flow, while a song such as "Slowly" leans more toward a Beach Boys groove.

While "Safe in Sound" might appear as if it is in danger of becoming a cheesy tribute album to Boggia's favorite bands, nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, "Safe in Sound" is one of those CDs that stays with you long after the music has ended. Boggia should plan on a long and illustrious career in the music business if he decides to keep putting out material as good as this. (A-) - Post and Courier


Fidelity is the Enemy- 2001
Safe in Sound- 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


Safe In Sound could be the title of Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Jim Boggia’s life story, not just the name of his bluhammock music debut. As he often likes to explain to reporters, “I’ve been told that I was singing melodies before I started speaking words, and I started playing the guitar when I was five. I have no conception of a life before music.” Jim is the kind of hyper-kinetic guy who may never need an iPod because he’s already got instant recall of practically every song he’s ever heard and loved. Like a digital player permanently set in shuffle mode, he accesses riffs and rhymes with a sort of free-associative glee. At a recent acoustic gig, he managed to interpolate Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” into the middle of one of his own tunes; flirt with the hook of a sappy Chicago super-hit from the seventies; ably pluck out a verse of “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” on the guitar; and lecture the rapt audience on the origins of “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.”

In Philadelphia, Jim is already a local hero on the live music scene, thanks to his membership in the ad-hoc super-group 4 Way Street, which consists of Jim and three other city stars: Ben Arnold, Scott Bricklin and Joseph Parsons. The quartet first got together informally at an open mic event, then regrouped in 2001 to perform at a one-off event for taste-making radio station WXPN, which has long been a Boggia supporter. The reception from Philly fans was so enthusiastic that the foursome, all of them superb harmony singers as well as songwriters, began playing on a semi-regular basis and in 2003 released a well-received album, Pretzel Park. One of Jim’s contributions, “Several Thousand,” became a AAA-radio hit and remains his most requested song at live gigs (although it’s about to get some competition once Safe In Sound is released).

Jim was raised in Michigan on a road with few neighbors and no other kids. At birth, he was declared legally blind in his left eye; over the years, the strength of his right eye has also diminished. That may partially explain why he has such remarkably fine-tuned ears. An only child, he remembers growing up isolated, “sitting in a room with a record player and a guitar, trying to learn all the songs I’m hearing.” He’s just old enough, he says, to have witnessed “the last gasp of records” -- that is, real working vinyl – and cites albums released well before his time, like the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society, Nilsson Sings Newman and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisons, as perennial favorites. His uncles used to bring Jim their old 45s and he wore out several old copies of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” on his close-and-play turntable.

His abilities as a composer and guitarist attracted enough interest that he ultimately chucked the nine-to-five. He hit the road and/or collaborated in the studio with a wide-range of artists, including Canadian rocker Amanda Marshall, indie icon Juliana Hatfield and even Broadway diva Bernadette Peters. He now frequently performs alongside friend and fan Sobule, and has opened for Mann and her husband Michael Penn, who provided an extra pair of discerning ears during Aimee and Jim’s songwriting sessions. Jim initially got to know them while touring with 4 Way Street and their friendship grew. The couple introduced him to producer and multi-instrumentalist Julian Coryell and co-producer-engineer-mixer Joe Zook, who would record Safe In Sound with Jim.

In the studio, Jim felt free to experiment with any sound-making equipment he could find, from Mellotron, Moog and Optigon to slinkys, megaphones and bouncing basketballs. What he’s created with his gizmos, guitars and incredible knack for melody is a collection of 12 tunes – plus one rainstorm and a goofy hidden track – as addictive and enduring as the classics he memorized as a child, a gift from his head to yours.