Jim Boggia

Jim Boggia


meticulously constructed, immediately engaging bubblegum pop songs


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.


Fidelity is the Enemy- 2001
Safe in Sound- 2005

Set List

1)annie also ran
3) black & blue
4) weather
5) several thousand
6) talk about the weather
7) evans lament
9) where's the party
10) shine

she 's leaving home - beatles
live and let die - wings
kiss - prince
whiter shade of pale - procol harum