By Derek Downham
Let’s hear it for...Jimmy Reid.
I first met Jimmy when he was working at the now-defunct Songbird Music Store on Queen St. West in Toronto.
Back then, I was a sweaty, full-time pub musician, playing at least three sets a night, cutting my teeth. I would go through at least a set of strings a night, and Jimmy was my “string dealer”. I lived a few doors away from Songbird, which was very convenient.
Eventually, I became the musical director for legendary songwriter (and now dear friend) Andy Kim. The time came when Andy wanted to try a new guitarist out. I had never actually heard Jimmy play, but I had a gut feeling he was awesome. Plus, he was so easy to get along with...for me, that’s an invaluable trait.
That was many years ago. From the first note, we knew he was the perfect guitarist for the band. Deeply rooted in soul/R&B styles, he also knows his way around pretty much every effect box under the sun, with tasteful restraint and conviction for each provided occasion. Plus, a remarkable vocalist, in his own right.
James is far from a one trick pony. I’ve watched him flawlessly accompany country songwriters, at times evoking Vince Gill, Brent Mason and James Burton.
Aside from Andy, Jimmy also plays with Canadian rock goddess Sass Jordan. Here, his rock chops are fully realized, sometimes cutting, sometimes, creamy smooth.
Also, you must see his alt-bluegrass outfit Blackie Jackett Jr. Featuring members of Can-rock legends Finger Eleven, BJJ showcases some of Jimmy’s dexterous bluegrass picking, and frankly, the band is just straight up fun. A supergroup of superfriends, if you will.
He doesn’t have a website, but he does do social media. Follow Jimmy and catch him live sometime. He is truly a Swiss Army Knife of talent, and Toronto is lucky to have him.
Here’s a fun clip of his rock playing. He also makes heavy metal dinosaur cartoon music...you read that correctly! This video has had over 2 million hits in a very short period of time! Not surprising, it’s fantastic for all ages.
Thank you for reading, and for supporting great local musicians.
It means more than you know.