Jim Stanson
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Jim Stanson


Band Americana Rock


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"Billboard Songwriting Contest"

Jim Stanson recently received an Honorable Mention in the 15th Annual Billboard World Song Contest for his song, One Too Many". He received a certificate and several prizes from sponsors of the contest. The certificate reads:

"In recognition of having your original song composition, "One Too Many" among the Top 500 entries of the 15th Annual Billboard Songwriting Contest. Only the highest quality songs make it to the top. This honor demonstrates the talent and dedication it takes to write a 'Hit Song'."
- Jim Stanson

"Top 25 EuroAmericana Chart"

Jim Stanson cracks the Top 25 coming in at #22 on the EuroAmericana Radio Chart with his new CD “Heart Full of Fire”. Check it out:


- EuroAmericana Chart

"Mathew Barber’s review from SXSW 2008"

« My SXSW schedule courtesy of Sched.orgMathew Barber’s “Ghost Notes” (Outside Music, March 4) »Jim Stanson’s solo rock `n roll debut “Heart Full Of Fire” (with guests Gurf Morlix and “Scrappy” Jud Newcomb)

So I’m still recovering from SXSW. I got into Chicago late last night. My SXSW was kind of an anti-SXSW experience. I didn’t see any of the hyped or buzzed bands. Not Duffy, or She and Him, or any band with the word “Fuck” in the name (that one was difficult - they were everywhere). I didn’t make it to any blogger parties (although I did peak in to the Stereogum/Paste/NPR event to see Emmy the Great play with Lightspeed Champion).

What I did do/see was wonderful. The list of artists includes Danny Schmidt, Sam Baker, Walt Wilkins, Anna Egge, Caroline Herring, The Pines, Gurf Morlix, Carrie Elkin, The Theater Fire, Chuck Prophet, Nels Andrews, AJ Schultz and David Dondero. Many of these I saw on Saturday at a marathon house concert outside of town. I have photo’s that I may upload today or tomorrow.

But today’s a new day and a new day means a new artist to write (and get excited) about. I came across Jim Stanson’s new record on a European Americana chart. His new record Heart Full of Fire was the only one on the list by a self-released artist. I think you know I have a fondness for rock `n roll. Simple, straightforward rock shaped by decades of exposure to The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and The Faces. And that’s what you get with Jim.

You’ll hear all of those influences on the title track. Purchase Jim Stanson’s new record here. The new record also features the above mentioned Gurf Morlix and Austinite “Scrappy” Jud Newcomb.

Heart Full Of Fire

See actual review at:

http://www.songsillinois.net/?p=3250 - Hypem.com

"Jim Stanson Interview"

Artist Development Co-Op: Heart Full of Fire is apparently a stinging indictment of relationships and the pain of loss. Is this a close assessment of this record?

Jim Stanson: That’s pretty much right on target. Many of my friends had gone through divorces, some of them pretty nasty, and I was writing about their situations. Then I went through a brief separation with my wife right before I went into the studio and our reconciliation was happening all throughout the recording process. Not all of the songs are about me or her but I found myself in many of the songs that I already had written before we had separated. We were able to get it back on track and things are going very well. She co-wrote “Heart Full of Fire” which is more about trying to keep it together when life seems so difficult.

ADC: There seems to be a great deal of self “introspection”. Was it a difficult record to write? Or was the writing process therapeutic?

JS: It wasn’t difficult to write, it was difficult to come to terms with what I had written and decide to record it. I felt extremely vulnerable letting others in on what I’d gone through or what I saw happening to my friends. At some point I realized that there is a lot of healing that can happen when you hear someone tell a story that’s similar to what you’ve gone through. A lot of people who heard the demos were connecting with the songs immediately. The songs I did write during my separation were very therapeutic. “So Many Things” began as an apology for not being the kind of partner a husband should be. I realized I had let myself down and new that I wanted to change for the better. I knew as I was writing that song that things were going to be different for me and reconciling with my wife seemed very unlikely. “Hello tomorrow, goodbye yesterday” was very uplifting to me. “You Can’t Do It All Anymore” was another one written during my separation. I saw what kind of state she was in, I’ve seen it before, and since, in others when someone finds out that their relationship isn’t what they thought it was. I tried to capture that one moment when you’re mind is racing, completely overwhelmed by the thoughts of betrayal, disgrace, hatred, confusion…then you realize you just might not be able to keep yourself together but what are you gonna do? In the end youire exhausted, but everything will be alright. It all works out.

ADC: Musically this is as strong a record as I’ve heard in quite some time. Can you talk about the band members and the process of laying down one masterful groove after another?

JS: Thank you very much. I really like what happened musically on this record. There is phenomenal playing by everyone who contributed. The core band that laid down the basic tracks was myself on guitar and vocals, Aaron Walker on drums, Tobey Forsman on bass and Warren Keith on guitar and whatever else worked at the time for the song. I had been playing on and off with Warren for the past 5 years but had never played with that rhythm section. We rehearsed 5 or 6 songs at the studio and got to know each other then started recording the following week. They came recommended by Jim Kenniff who owns K-Sounds Studio and engineered the record. I had sent them the demos about a month before we recorded and they did a great job of learning the basics of the songs. The basic tracks were recorded in three sessions then Tobey came back in for a fourth session to finalize the bass parts. Warren had done some guitar parts and played banjo on one song. For some reason, he wasn’t keen on Tom Volpicelli’s style of production and he abruptly withdrew from the sessions. He was also working on some pedal steel and lap steel parts. So I was without my multi-instrumentalist. It turned out Jim Weider was playing close by at the time and Tom knew the promoter for the show and we went backstage to meet him and ask him to play on the record. It turned out he had the same setup at his studio and we could just send him tapes. On the way home, I started thinking maybe I could give Gurf Morlix a call to see if he was interested. I knew him pretty well from hanging out with him during SXSW. I really like all of Gurf’s playing but I was interested having him play pedal steel and Dobro. I also knew “Scrappy” Jud Newcomb really well and wanted him to play on the title track. So I rang them up thinking there was very little chance they could or would do it. They jumped right in. The only thing was Gurf recorded on a different system but it turned out that K-Sounds had a hard disk we could accommodate Gurf with. As all this was happening, my good friend, Craig Bancoff, who is an amazing singer/songwriter put me in touch with Kurt Johnston. Kurt immediately agreed to do the session so now I had a local pedal steel and dobro player. I called Gurf back and asked if he would play some guitar and lap steel and being the wonderful person he is, he told me he would play whatever I wanted. So Kurt came in first and it was an amazing session. He knew I wanted that whiny, crying sound lurking in the background but then he would throw in these masterful, classic pedal steel licks. I was getting goose bumps along with the rest of the crew. Then he did that dobro on “Had a Little Trouble” and he raised us up out of our seats. It was really an incredible session. Right then, I knew we had something really magical going on with the record. The basic tracks sounded great, but it was taking on a new dimension. Then we sent the disk to Gurf. When he received it, he sent me an e-mail asking me for instructions on what to play. I just stared at the computer screen thinking what am I gonna tell Gurf Morlix to play. He’s one of the greatest, most distinctive sounding players I’ve ever heard and he wants me to give him instructions. So I took a stab at it and told him what instrument, what kind of sound I wanted, and what kind of feel I was looking for on each song. After I read over the instructions I had given him, I made some kind of statement that he didn’t have to do what I said, just do what’s right for the song. This was late in the morning on a Friday and later that afternoon, he sent me an e-mail saying that the first song “Start All Over” was done and it sound GREAT. He was busy as usual that weekend and he sent me another e-mail on Monday that the other two songs were finished and also sounded great. Then I went down that week to SXSW and he gave me a CD to listen to of what he had done. He played a show with Sam Baker and Ray Wylie Hubbard and I stood there with this CD in my hand just wanting to go out to my rental and listen to it. I think it was three long hours before I listened to what he had played. When I heard it ,I was totally blown away. I started playing it for people down there and the response was phenomenal. Then I talked to “Scrappy” and he told me he and Gurf had scheduled a time to work on the final track after I had left. They ended up sending it to us with two different takes. They were both amazing but the one we chose was a little more aggressive. Great sounding greasy slide. After I had returned from SXSW, we put together the tapes of two songs for Jim Weider. I talked to him several times and he would give me updates playing it over the phone. He was really excited about what he had done and he gave us a lot to work with. He played four or five different parts straight through on “Sad Beauty” and “One Too Many”. The sessions ended in May of last year. I had Tom Wade, my current guitar player in my band, play some mandolin on a couple tracks and dobro on “Crying for You’. I love the dobro on that track. He really got inside that song. On the last day, I had Craig in to sing on “Heart Full of Fire”. We had a lot of fun doing that vocal together. He did some great ad-lib stuff. The intern who played piano, Jake Thro, was there and his main instrument is cello. I made him go home and get it because I really wanted cello on “Never Feel the Same”. He did a great job in short amount of time. Then my producer and I worked on some editing over the next month. We mixed it in July with Phil Nicolo. We worked on mastering it at Tom’s studio through October, then let it rest for the holidays. We finished mastering the record to take some promo copies on my SXSW trip. Then came the artwork and it was ready in late May of this year.

ADC: I hear a lot of Bob Dylan in your voice. The phrasing, inflection and tonal quality of Dylan. Is Bob Dylan a major influence in your writing and singing?

JS: Bob who? Of course I am just kidding. Bob Dylan is a major influence along with Keith Richards. I love the way they sing and I listen to them a lot. I love that kind of phrasing, inflection and tonal quality. I don’t think I mimic either one; it’s just how I learned how to sing from listening so much. I think I have more of a whispery tone that comes from the insecurity of never taking any serious vocal lessons or learning anything about how the voice works. I’ve overcome that insecurity during the making of this record. I really like the way my voice sounds. That wasn’t the case two years ago as we got started. Dylan is absolutely a major influence in my writing. I don’t think I have the command of the English language or the poetic abilities he has. I write in what I would consider a much more simple or basic style. I would never consider myself to be close to any level of what he has done and I’m not trying to do what he does. I’m me and Bob is Bob. It will be a long time, probably not in my lifetime, before someone like him happens again. I’m grateful to be on this earth at the same time he’s passing through. Now we have Ryan Adams. He’s putting out quite a bit of worthwhile and interesting material.

ADC: Talk about some of the other influences that appear from time to time throughout the record. I hear Dire Straits, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones…am I close?

JS: Once again you are right on target. I knew I wanted to be a musician after seeing the film “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones” in 1975. It was playing in theatres in the Philly area when the Stones were on their ’75 tour. I had my first guitar within a week of seeing that movie. I remember thinking it was so cool that they covered Johnny Winter’s song “Jumping Jack Flash”. I was also very disappointed that “Angie” wasn’t in the movie, not knowing that the movie had been filmed in 1972 before that record came out. Then I started really digging in to my two older brothers’ record collection and found Dylan, Clapton, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Mott the Hoople, David Bowie. During the late seventies I found Tom Petty and that was my big turning point musically. I remember that they couldn’t quite classify him into any of the popular formats or trends going on which were New Wave and Punk. He didn’t fit into the Jackson Browne or Eagles style of music either and he really intrigued me. His voice was different so he automatically was put into the Dylan category but I knew there was something unique and appealing. Dire Straits came out at that time also I remember loving Mark Knopfler’s voice. It was so different, but once again people said he sounded like Dylan because they needed somebody to compare him to. Then the 80’s came and all the hair bands and different forms of metal and MTV. I tried to get into all that but it wasn’t my scene. I’ve pretty much been playing in this style since I learned how to play. All the cover bands I played in I would turn into an original act by playing the songs I thought were cool that were lesser known, Tom Petty’s, the Stones, Dylan, Clapton, and all the blues stuff that shaped them. Then came the late 80’s and into the 90’s where I got into Steve Earle, John Hiatt, Dave Alvin, Wilco, The Jayhawks, Lucinda Williams and that whole scene thanks to WXPN in Philadelphia.

ADC: Philadelphia is making a comeback in the straight ahead rock and roll market. It’s mostly known for spawning the 70’s Soul Movement. Does any of that sound surface when you lay down tracks?

JS: I don’t want to knock Philly, because it’s where I’d like to play. But if the straight ahead rock and roll market is making a comeback, somebody please give me a call. I would love to play your venue. I’ve been banging on doors for a while begging to play with very little response. As far as any of the 70’s Soul Movement sound, I don’t think it’s really in my music right now. Of all the music reference points that came up during the recording, nothing from the Philly sound came up. I was playing a lot of Texas artists and alt-country stuff for my crew during the process. A lot of stuff they had never been exposed to. It’s only been over the past five or six years that I’ve been exploring Texas music.

ADC: What other Philadelphia musicians do you draw from when you write a record like Heart Full of Fire?

JS: I don’t think I draw on anyone in particular in the Philadelphia area. I follow Tom Gillam, I’m a big fan of his, and I love his records and his writing. I have a lot of respect for Tom and his band Tractor Pull. They are all great guys and they put on an amazing live show. They have more of a Southern Rock flavor, a little Eagles influence, but still totally original. Tom’s got a great voice and he’s a monster with that slide. I was gonna ask him to play on the record but then he had his heart attack. I’m glad he’s back in good health and ready to release another great record. There is also this other artist, J. D. Malone. He’s got this great voice and writes some really cool tunes. He’s working on a new record and I think he deserves some airplay and recognition in the Americana format. The Hooters are still going at it and they are extremely popular in Europe. John Eddie left town and has been making a good run with his stuff along with Robert Hazard.

ADC: Talk about the recording process…what is the sequence when you go in and record a record?

JS: First I cut 22 demos of me on acoustic guitar and vocals. Then I met with my producer, Tom Volpicelli, and we narrowed it down to 13 songs. We made notes on arrangements and instrument choices. This process went on over a couple of months while I lined up the rhythm section through K-Sounds Studio. Then we rehearsed the songs and started recording with the core band. Like I said before, I never expected to have the high-profile players on the record but I do thank Warren for leaving the project. It’s a classic moment of one door closing and then many doors opening up. There were a lot of spontaneous moments on the record. The opening “front porch” feel on “Running Back to You” was not planned. It happened as a brainstorm when I wanted to work on something completely different that day. Then it took all day to get that one minute of raw spontaneity. The coolest thing about the process on this record was that with all the pre-production, we didn’t stick to any schedule. On any given day you never knew what to expect. Sometimes there was an intern that could play piano and he happened to be there that day so we cut the piano tracks. Jim Kenniff had invited Carole Rivera, this great salsa singer to the sessions and everyone who could sing backups was there at the same time so we recorded those tracks. I started opening up to the basic crew in the studio about what the songs were about and things got really interesting. “One Too Many” was written very tongue-in-cheek and had to be edited back in the writing process. There’s quite a few things you can have one too many of. I didn’t do all of those things although I was making my way through the list. Tom then started pushing for a very serious reading of it. Then I was having a hard time with the brightness of “You Can’t Do It All Anymore”. I thought it should have a darker feel to it but Tom wanted to brighten it up to get away from the darkness. That’s one of my favorite tracks now with Warren playing some really nice banjo. “Running Back to You” was written when Pope John Paul II was dying. It was inspired by the media showing the light in his room with picture-in-picture in the corner while they broadcast the rest of the news: all the news of the Iraq war and whatever images and stories they were airing. Then anytime an announcement was imminent, the people visiting the Vatican would go running back to the circle and hold vigil. When I told the crew about this, the song took on this new, haunting dimension. There is plenty of contrast between the lyrics and the music throughout the record that makes it subliminally interesting. I don’t want to give too much away here but it was very spontaneous. I didn’t realize much of what we had done until it was recorded. We were just doing what felt right for each song. It’s part of the beauty of not having a record company breathing down your neck and telling you what to do or not to do.

ADC: Talk about being an Independent artist. What are the main obstacles you see and the main advantages of being Independent?

JS: The main obstacle is that there is so much to the business. Making a record or putting together a show for a gig comes pretty natural. Trying to get people to take notice, getting radio to play it, get the press to review it, finding some kind of distribution that will make it available in areas that new fans can get a hold of it easily if your radio and press works out, and knowing how to do that, is all way out of my comfort zone. Then you need to hire a firm to do the things that you really can’t do efficiently and it cost more money. Fortunately, I listened to what I’ve heard in seminars at the AMA and didn’t blow my entire budget on recording. I have some set aside to hire some people to take care of those things. I also need to advertise. Then whenever it seems I fit another piece into the puzzle, I found out there are five more pieces I should have taken care of a month ago. The main advantage is I can work what is comfortable for me. I may not like some of things I have to do but no one is forcing me to do them…yet. I’m working this record on instinct, doing what feels right at the time, the same way it got recorded. I may make a few mistakes along the way but that’s how you learn. I also get to keep a bigger portion of the sales now and not have some of it go to a few people who had absolutely nothing to with making or selling the record.

ADC: How are things like the Artist Development Co-Op important to independent musicians?

JS: The Artist Development Co-Op that you’ve put together is incredible. First of all, for the past couple of weeks I’ve been scouring the internet looking for someone to work my radio and press promotion. I’ve sent out quite a few e-mails and have gotten little response. Joe Carroll from Tom Gillam’s band mentioned you and I eventually contacted you. Fred talked to me for quite some time (1 hour 16 minutes) as did Bill. They were both busy but took the time with me that no one else would. I had the same vibe talking to you about your work as I had gotten while making the record. It just felt right. You explained everything you do in full detail and are following through. What’s really great about it is that it’s an opportunity for an independent artist like myself to get an immense amount of exposure to a very targeted audience at a relatively inexpensive price. With several artists signing up for the time period, the cost is lower and we get maximum exposure. There’s a better chance that people in the business are going to take notice when they have several artists to learn more about. The media guide that is sent out contains some great info that would be difficult for me to put together, let alone get anyone to look at. This is important work being done, embracing the technology of the times and utilizing it in a cost-effective way. Hopefully the recipients are recognizing this as a great opportunity to learn about new artists and get their music out to the public that want to hear and read about it.

ADC: How long have you been playing music? Talk about what influenced you growing up in suburban Philly both musically and socially?

JS: I started playing when I was 13 back in 1975. I’m still learning as much as I can. I mostly stick to rhythm and I’ve developed my own style. I’m sure plenty of people would compare it to Keith Richards, but I got a few of my own tricks that I’ve come up with, probably because I can’t figure out how other players do what they do. What influenced me mostly was Phialdelphia radio, both AM and FM. WFIL used to play all the hits. Then there were my two older brothers who were buying records and I would get them and listen and scratch them up. I grew up in a very conservative environment and my parents weren’t too happy about the music thing taking over my life. They wanted me to go to college and get a regular job. I did that and struggled trying to conform. I just don’t fit in that scenario. I also broke out of that conservative mentality. The only thing I really dug in college was Political Science in which I received a minor. I follow world events closely and try to be involved with some of the movements I see a need and feel I can contribute. My oldest daughter, Miranda, has really inspired me in the social area. She just help to raise over $25,000 through her high school for an organization called Invisible Children. That organization is helping to raise awareness of displaced people and the abduction of children who are turned into child soldiers by the LRA in Northern Uganda. She earned a trip with them and is going over to help out for two weeks in July and August. It’s amazing what we can learn or reconnect with through our children.

- Artist Development Coop

"WQBR Radio 99.9 FM"

WQBR Radio 99.9 FM McElhatton, PA
Jim Stanson - Heart Full of Fire
This Philadelphia-area singer-songwriter has some awfully heavy help on this disc - like guitarists Gurf Morlix and Scrappy Jud Newcomb - it's a wonderful ride...
- WQBR Radio 99.9 FM


Heart Full of Fire - 2007
Heavy Wood - 2001



Too rock for country…too country for rock, Jim Stanson blends the basic elements of rock and roll with essential country instrumentation on his debut CD “Heart Full of Fire”. Difficult to categorize into one specific genre: Rock, Alt-country, Americana or Blues, let’s call it “High-Octane Roots Rock”.

Stanson’s “Heart Full of Fire” reached number 22 on the EuroAmericana Chart in March 2008 and has received critical acclaim and substantial airplay throughout America and Europe. Every song has been played on the radio crossing the boundaries of radio play formats. His song “One Too Many” received a Top 500 Award in the 15th Annual Billboard World Song Contest.

He’s traveled from his hometown of Philadelphia to Nashville and Austin, among others, to get the right feel and sound to his straightforward songs. His new album, “Heart Full of Fire”, includes such luminaries as Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen) on guitar, slide and lap steel; Jim Wieder (The Band, Bob Dylan, Keith Richards) on guitar; “Scrappy” Jud Newcomb (Ian McLagen, The Resentments) on slide; Kurt Johnston (Bon Jovi) on pedal steel and dobro; as well as a host of other more local musicians.

There is plenty of material on this record suitable for other artists and/or TV/Film licensing.

Jim is currently playing gigs with his band in the Philadelphia area. Check out the schedule for upcoming gigs. Band members include Tommy Wade (lead guitar, lap steel, dobro), Ron Telfor (bass guitar), Charles Plaugher (drums) and Henry Gennaria (keyboards).