Jim Sallis is still trying to decide what he wants to be when he grows up. Author of three books on music and a couple of dozen others, he performs solo country blues both bottleneck and fingerpicked, plays Dobro in bluegrass bands, works as sideman for local singers such as Linda Bilque on Dobro, banjo, guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and periodically saddles up behind his Forties triple-neck non-pedal steel guitar for some oldtime country music.
Back in New Orleans during college days he worked on Bourbon Street (“wet behind the ears and wholly inadequate”) as one half (“actually, I was closer to one-eighth”) of a duet with Chris Smither, playing guitar and harmonica. In Texas he played each weekend in the kind of bars where, as you’re setting up, you’re likely to find an ear that got cut off the week before in a fight. (“They look like dried fruit.”)
Jim was born in Helena, Arkansas, rich Delta land on the Mississippi, and grew up listening all night to torrents of music – Ernest Tubb, Jimmy Reed, Hank Williams,
Ferlin Husky – from the honky tonk down the road. He attributes his lifelong insomnia to that music.
Jim appears regularly at local folk and acoustic music festivals and at venues such as Fiddlers Dream. Last summer he took his music with him on a trip to Festivaletteratura in Mantova, Italy, where he played on Italian radio and before an audience of several hundred at the festival. He’s still wondering what the Italians made of “Bullfrog Blues.”