Jim Rooney has been involved in music ever since he first appeared on the WCOP “Hayloft Jamboree” as a teenager in Boston in 1954. He has been a musical partner of banjoist Bill Keith for over fifty years and played an important part in the folk revival of the ‘60’s, managing the legendary Club 47 in Cambridge, Mass, and then becoming a Director of and the talent coordinator for the Newport Folk Festival. Jim also worked as a tour manager and stage manager for the Newport Jazz Festival and produced the first New Orleans Jazz Festival in 1968.
In 1970 Jim moved to Woodstock, NY, where he managed the Bearsville Sound Studios for Albert Grossman and was a member of The Woodstock Mountains Revue. Since 1976 Jim has worked in Nashville, TN as a musician, songwriter, recording engineer, Grammy-winning record producer and partner in a successful music publishing company, Forerunner Music. Jim is best known for his record production with Nanci Griffith, John Prine, Iris DeMent, Hal Ketchum, Tom Paxton, Tom Rush, and Peter Rowan.
In 2009 he received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Americana Music Association for his work as an engineer/producer. Jim has written two books about music: “BOSSMEN: BILL MONROE & MUDDY WATERS” (JRP Books) and “BABY LET ME FOLLOW YOU DOWN: THE ILLUSTRATED STORY OF THE CAMBRIDGE FOLK YEARS,” co-written with Eric Von Schmidt (University of Massachusetts Press).
The year 2014 will see the release of Jim’s memoir “IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN” (University of Illinois Press), which will provide details of the folk music boom of the latter half of the 20th Century — its milestones, personalities, and aftermath — from one who has lived to tell the tale.
The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced they would be honoring Jim with the DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD at their conference Sept 27-29, 2016.
A couple of recent interviews allow a preliminary glimpse:
from Seven Days Vermont
[both used with permission]
Also, we have created a chronological timeline overview