Born: Jan. 28, 1938   Boston, MA

Grows up in Dedham, MA

1954: Sings on WCOP “Hayloft Jamboree” for 3 months or so


1956: Graduates from Roxbury Latin School. West Roxbury, MA


1959: Meets Bill Keith at Amherst College


1960: Graduates from Amherst College (Classics major, Magna Cum Laude)

June, 1960: Play first professional gig with Bill Keith at The Ballad Room, Boston, MA

Summer, 1960: Travels with Bill Keith to Festivals in Asheville NC, and Galax VA

1960-’61: Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (Classics)

Jan. 1961: Keith & Rooney open for Joan Baez at Dartmouth Winter Carnival


1961-’63: Teaching Fellowship at Harvard University


1962: Get M.A. in Classics from Harvard

Spring , Summer  & Fall of ’62: form band with Bill Keith, Joe Val, Herb Applin and Fritz Richmond. Record “Living On The Mountain” for Prestige Records


1963-’64: Awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study at The American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. (Bill Keith joins Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys)


1964-’65: Ends studies at Harvard. Plays with Bill Keith and Peter Rowan. In September of ’65 starts managing Club 47 in Cambridge.


1965-’67: Manages Club 47. In Fall of ’65 joins the Board of Directors of Newport Folk Foundation. In December of ’67 stops managing Club 47.


1968: Produces New Orleans Jazz Festival in April. Joins George Wein’s Festival Productions as a tour manager for Jazz shows. Takes Ralph Rinzler’s place as talent coordinator for the Newport Folk Festival.


1969: Continues working for Festival Productions and Newport Folk Festival. Records “Sweet Moments With The Blue Velvet Band” for Warner Brothers Records. (with Bill Keith, Eric Weissberg and Richard Greene)


1970: Writes “Bossmen: Bill Monroe & Muddy Waters” for Dial Press. In May moves to Woodstock, NY to manage Bearsville Sound Studios for Albert Grossman.


1971-’72: Manages Bearsville Sound Studios. In July helps Ralph Rinzler produce first concerts for Festival of American Folklife on The Mall in Washington, DC. In early ’72 records “Mud Acres: Music Among Friends” for Rounder Records (with Happy & Artie Traum, Bill Keith, John Herald, Maria Muldaur, Eric Kaz and others). Forms band with David & Jon Gershen called “Borderline” and records album for Avalanche Records. Produces “Living On The Trail” with Eric Von Schmidt for Poppy Records. Stops managing Bearsviille Studios in October of ’72. Plays with Borderline.


1973: Plays gigs with Borderline and makes second album. Travels to Europe to play gigs with Bill Keith. In November moves to Nashville to hang out there.


1974: Continues hanging out in Nashville. Meets James Talley, Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Guy & Susannah Clark, Richard Dobson. In July helps Ralph Rinzler produce 10 days of concerts for the Festival of American Folklife on the Mall in Washington, DC. In the fall leaves Nashville and returns to Europe for gigs with Bill Keith.

1975: Relocates to family home in Green Harbor, MA. Forms “Partners In Crime” band with Everett and Tennis Lilly. Records “One Day At A Time” for Rounder Records (with Everett & Tennis Lilly, Bill Keith, Joe Val, and others). Plays gigs around New England.

1976: Records song demos and returns to Nashville. Meets “Cowboy” Jack Clement.

Decides to move back to Nashville in June. In October becomes part of “Cowboy’s Ragtime Band.”

1977: Plays and sings on Jack Clement’s album “All I Want To Do In Life.” (Elektra Records) Returns to Woodstock to record “More Music From Mud Acres” for Rounder Records. Tours Japan with Happy & Artie Traum, Bill Keith, John Herald, Arlen Roth. George Hamilton IV has a single with Jim’s song “Only The Best.”

1978: Records “Pretty Lucky” with the newly-formed Woodstock Mountains Revue for Rounder Records. (with new additions Pat Alger and Roly Salley).  Writes “Baby Let Me Follow You Down; The Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years” with Eric Von Schmidt for Doubleday/Anchor Books. (Winner of ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award)

1979: Plays on record sessions and song demos at Jack Clement’s studio, The Cowboy Arms Hotel & Recording Spa. Tours Europe with Woodstock Mountains Revue.

1980: Helps Don Everly form band called The Dead Cowboys and tours France, England and Ireland. Convinced by Jack Clement to learn how to run the control board in the studio. Convinces Pat Alger to move to Nashville and helps him demo his songs.

1981-’87: Engineering at The Cowboy Arms. Records Edgar Meyer’s first album, Alison Krauss’s first album. Starts producing records for Nanci Griffith and John Prine. Forms New Blue Velvet Band with Bill Keith, Eric Weissberg and Kenny Kosek. Plays many festivals in Canada and Europe.

1986: Forms Forerunner Music publishing company with Allen Reynolds, Mark Miller and Terrell Tye.  Pat Alger, David Mallett, and Barry & Holly Tashian are first Forerunner writers.

1987: First Forerunner #1 record: “Goin’ Gone” by Kathy Mattea. (Pat Alger, co-writer)

1988-2000: Forerunner Music has many hit songs by writers Pat Alger, Hal Ketchum, Tony Arata, Tim O’Brien, Pete Wasner, Charles John Quarto, Shawn Camp and others. Artists who recorded songs of the publishing company include Garth Brooks, Kathy Mattea, Patty Loveless,Vince Gill, Hal Ketchum, Trisha Yearwood.

1989: Helps organize Nashville sessions for BBC documentary on Irish music and its travels around the world, “Bringing It All Back Home.” (with Everly Brothers, Liam O’Flynn, Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, Mary Black, Dolores Keane, Ricky Skaggs, Mark O’Connor, Paddy Glackin)

1991: Produces “Infamous Angel” for Iris DeMent. Produces (with Allen Reynolds) “Past The Point Of Rescue” for Hal Ketchum (Gold Record)

1994: Produces “Other Voices, Other Rooms” for Nanci Griffith (Grammy winner)

2000: Forerunner Music sold. Starts spending 4-5 months a year in Ireland. Produces “No Stranger” for Sean Keane (Gold Record) and “Corner Boys” for Lee Valley String Band.  Starts “Rooney’s Irregulars” gigs at Station Inn in Nashville. (No end in sight)

2000-present: Still producing many artists. Does sound for wife Carol Langstaff’s Flock Dance Troupe in Vermont. Ready for more!