Music News Nashville
by Chuck Dauphin
Unlike a lot of artists, Jim Quick has a pretty good idea on how the world of radio and airplay works. It seems that the medium was also on of his first loves.
“I grew up in a town that had a little 500 watt AM station in North Carolina,” he recalls. “I grew up in the middle of a swamp outside of town. The station was really all over the road. They were on from Sunrise to Sunset, and they played Willie Nelson, the Rolling Stones, and Otis Redding. It was anything and everything. I wasn’t ready for it to sign off, because in the wintertime, it would be 5:30. So, I had one of these Sears console stereos that had a headphone and microphone jack into it, along with an 8-track player and a cassette deck, so I would sit there and put on a radio show at the age of ten. Not only would I do the intros and outros of the songs, but I would also sing along. My uncle used to call it WJIM—-all your favorite Jim Quick songs by the original artists,” he says with a laugh, remembering his imitation radio days.
However, fantasy soon became reality. “I ended up working for that actual radio station. There was a friend of mine who got a job there. I was very envious of him. Well, when I was fifteen years old, we could have our drivers’ license at that time—as long as your parents’ consented. He was there after school, and wanted something to eat, so he calls me. He was just down the road, so I made a sandwich and took it over to him. When I walked into the door, the General Manager asked me if I was there for the job. I just looked at him and said ‘Sure!” So, he took me in his office and interviewed me. I was a cart pusher for a while during NASCAR games and things like that, but by the time I was in my early 20s, I had worked my way up to being a sales consultant.”
Those days are now in the past for Quick, as he is now on the other side, hoping that radio gives his music a shot. The gatekeepers of the airwaves should be so smart. His latest album, Down South, has been gaining great reviews from critics and fans alike.
The perfect combination of Country and Blues, Quick says that the music is something that is a true representative of him. “You know, I’ve been on the road for eighteen years. I just decided to stick with what I was comfortable with. —which is the culmination of Blues, Soul, and Country. I think that over the years, music has become less and less categorized…..I just decided to let the chips fall where they may with the songs that I write myself.”
He recalls getting turned on to the Blues, thanks to a baby sitter. “The first thing I remember as a child was a lady named Miss Ruby who used to raise us, when our parents were working. She’d turn on the AM stations in the area that were playing what was called ‘Race’ music at the time, the old, original R&B / Soul kind of bands, Muddy Waters kind of stuff. They even played some of the early Coasters / Doo Wop sounds. That’s the first thing I remember musically. As I grew up, it just stayed with me musically, and I got into artists like Delbert McClinton, Bonnie Raitt, and Keb’ Mo. I’ve always liked that sound, and if you put in some Country and some Southern Rock, it’s always been the perfect melting pot.”
Quick does it very well, in concert as well as on record. His album was produced by Nashville tunesmith Gary Nicholson, and he says he was the perfect person to work with on the project. “He really brought a lot out of me, actually. I was really stuck in my comfort zone, and he yanked me out of it. One thing he really did was raise my confidence level, and taught me a lot of vocal tricks. I never really concentrated on the words I was singing. He’s a genius. He taught me how to get in and out of the microphone and how to use the room properly when you’re recording. If you ever get the chance, listen to the self- album he produced, and it’s unbelievable the emotion he can pull out. His ability to convey words into emotions,” he elaborates.
As much of an influence as Nicholson and Delbert McClinton (who appears on Down South) were from a personal level, it was his grandfather, Sgt. Loyd Merle Quick, who made the biggest personal mark on Jim. “He was so unbelievable. He just had a way of making you realize that your biggest problems are the smallest. The biggest thing he taught me as a kid that I use today is water off a ducks back. It’s hard to get me down.”
Jim recalls that his grandfather was an inspiration to him because of the challenges he endured. “He was stricken with arthritis at an early age. By the time he was 55 years old, he was in a wheelchair permanently, and he would spend a lot of time with me and my cousins. I was always fascinated with his world travels. He would tell me different tales, and always had a Mark Twain-style of telling a story. I’m not sure that some of it wasn’t a little fictional,” he admits with a twinkle in his eye. “He taught me a lot about storytelling in my songs. I’d watch groups of his friends come up on the porch, and just sit down and listen. I knew that everything wasn’t the truth because sometimes he wouldn’t tell the same story the same. He was awful good at embellishing things.”
Quick can often be found on the road. His schedule stays packed with dates, and that pleases himself, as well as his frenzied following, “the Coastline Crazies.” Of his devotees, he speaks proudly. “It’s a legion of fans who spend so much time with me. They follow us around in a four-state area in the Eastern United States. I see them so regularly. I may not know them by name, but I know them by face. They are wonderful. For them to like an artist who is so diverse, and everything we do isn’t in the same category. They get it. To have them know your lyrics, and to have them want three hours of your material that you have brought to the plate, and not cover material, that is a good feeling.”