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How did you get turned on to Jim?
  • For me, it was TDPRI/PRRI video/Orange.

    I think I read about Jim on the TDPRI (Telecaster Discussion Page ReIssue) forum. (I've been a tele guy for a very long time). Someone posted that FAMOUS video of Jim playing the new PRRI. I was instantly hooked. And it was right around the time of Orange, so Orange was my 1st Campy album. Double-hooked!

    I now have them all, of course. And not only is it a wonderful library of work, but actually quite diverse, when you compare Orange to Table for One to Cats stuff to Little Willies. Jim was my introduction to "hillbilly jazz" (I knew about it, but didn't own or listen to it, other than through Wayne Hancock, who always has stellar guitar players, like Dave Biller and Eddie Beibel, Paul Skelton)...

    Since finding Jim, my collection of hillbilly jazz (Jimmy Bryant, Jimmie Rivers, etc) has grown, as well as my western swing collection. I wonder if Jim did much listening to Bob Wills? I know he listened to the others of the era: George Barnes, etc.

    Interestingly, I have not yet gotten into Roy. IDK why. Several times I've gone to listen to him, and occasionally find a gem that I love, but haven't bought any yet... maybe I'm just not "ready" for Roy at this point?
  • I got the first Little Willies album back in '06. I was so impressed with Jim's playing that I started a thread about it on the TDPRI and Jim ended up responding. So I started following him through the TDPRI and Myspace (which was still a thing) and I've been a fan ever since.
  • Actually, now that you mention it was the Little Willies that got you started, I am a HUGE Norah Jones fan... and now that I think about it, I think it was also the Little Willies along with the PRRI video and Orange, sort of all at the same time... that's the problem with getting older... the memory begins to fail LOL
  • For me it was the first 20 seconds of Fender's PRRI promotional video with Jim. I'd never heard of Jim before. I didn't know what a Princeton amp was before either but there was quite a bit of excitement on the forum I was reading (might have been TheGearPage) so I checked it out. 20 seconds of listening to that haunting rendition of "Wishful Thinking" and I was hooked.

  • For me it was the Fender Princeton Reverb , 'commercial' I found on YouTube . At that moment I googled a lot and bought my first Campilongo CD "Orange" . Now I have them all.


    (Netherlands , Europe)
  • South City.

    Jim has been a friend since grammar school. You know the cliché about talented artists / athletes being even better people? Well in Jim's case it is true. He has never changed.

    It's a lot of fun tracking Jim's musical journey over the years. I love reading this forum and do so often. His lesson downloads have and continue to inspire. Hearing his voice on the lessons is like having him back in the hood.

    Jim, I apologize in advance.
  • For me it was via The Gear Page. I read a review of Heaven is Creepy, picked it up and was hooked. Still one of my favorite albums, and I remember listening to it nonstop on a road trip from DC to Penn State. From there it was on to the rest of the catalog.

    When I was still on the East Coast, I had a chance to see Jim at The Living Room, and had a great time. I was in NY for work, and shuffled over by myself after a long day. So glad I did. Jim was nice enough to sign a vinyl copy of Orange for me, and I babbled something about Heaven is Creepy being my favorite album. Have it framed in my music room - thanks, Jim!
  • It was 2003, and through TDPRI.com. Jim was coming to Finland so another Finn from TDPRI.com asked me to join the gig in the middle of nowhere by a beautiful lake. Only had listened to the tracks on the site, which sounded very weird, too far out for my liking. But I went for the summer guitar geek fun of it.

    Half way there on the train (took maybe 3hrs from the city of Helsinki), the guy called that his wife just left him, so he was drunk and skipping the gig. So I only met the guy 6 months later when Jim was again in Finland (in Helsinki this time).

    But I saw the gig, bought American Hips. I even called Jim from the reception of the local hotel, he was having a nap, so Mr. Klon Centaur (Bill?) took the call instead as they were travelling together. Anyway, the gig was brilliant, as was the setting. Wish I had photos. Perfect country side setting, lovely Northern European summer weather. Like 100 people in the audience, right on a still lake. Jim noted that the bass was inaudible, I did not notice any of that, I was standing on the lawn front and center like less than 5m away. It just blew my mind. There were some bands playing after Jim but I left, as everything felt lame after what I had experienced.

    I wish I had a better chat with Keith Wyatt that was there as well, as just that morning I was learning some licks off one of his books. The other Finn actually met his current wife the night we went to see another Campilongo gig and both of them were on the next time Jim was here. Oh well, all this before Jim got famous and stopped coming by. :'‑(

    I have all the albums, though the live one only as mp3s (bought, not ripped).
  • Ruger: I never really got into Buchanan either. Bits on the first two albums sound great, but that's just bits, not all. But I have watched the Buchanan PBS documentary many times:

    Well, Danny Gatton was never my fave, but I would also love to see the Humbler doc that I think is to be released soon.
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  • PS- this thread is interesting- I'm always curious how folks "discover" my music. Thank you!
  • My introduction to Jim was, like so many of you, watching the Fender Princeton Reverb video. Next I checked the MP3s on his website - which I still listen to from time to time - and I knew right away I was listening to an unique player. I purchased Heaven is Creepy soon after that and the compositions made a huge impression on me. But I guess what really turned me on were the lessons. Jim's approach to guitar and music in general have changed my playing and made me focus on what is really important: learning songs and finding my own voice on the instrument.
  • Make it one more for Finland. Public radio played Cats, I think it was. I found it intriguing. That was about 10 years ago. Bought the Cats on iTunes, then others. By chance I found Jim was coming to Helsinki, went there and have seen every show here since. Tried to introduce a buddy of mine to Jim's music, but he just couldn't get it! I always felt there was something interesting going on in Jim's music, like some kind of weird story where interesting characters, dead or living, appear and share anecdotes... meanwhile keeping the feet planted in the ground. Makes sense? Who cares. Anyhow, it's not for everyone. Jim's Super Bowl appearance might still be far in the future!
  • I liked his GP columns back in the 90's. Jim had/has a knack, like Chet Atkins in his GP column, to illustrate a musical concept that could be applied in many ways, with the perfect example. They barely needed any explanation.
  • SF Bay Guardian had a small snippet about him, saying he was a local guitar player to check out. He was playing with Preacher Boy and the Natural Blues. I caught a gig in one of the small rooms at the Paradise Lounge (downstairs).

    The music was great; Preacher Boy's
    voice was incredible. I think Ralph Carney was played hug with them too. Anyways, Jim played a solo and started twisting his tuning peg and it blew my mind. I started laughing (because what else would you do). It was rad.

    was fortunate to catch some of the Above Paradise residency shows (with the 10 Gallon Cats).

    Last year was my first time in New York and I made sure it coincided with one of his 55 Bar gigs. Woah. That was a great moment in my life.

  • a great old thread on this (sorry if it's been posted above and i missed it)

  • Several years back in a buddies garage. I was living in Los Angeles, and we were prepping our bikes for a race that weekend in Bakersfield when he put "Orange" on. The best part of the story is the fact that my buddy doesn't play the guitar (or any instrument), he simply loved the tunes.

    Ironically, I had been listening to Cake's "Prolonging the Magic" and both Little Willies albums on repeat for years, and just hadn't connected them with Jim.
  • These are really nice - thanks you guys
  • Hello everyone, Jim -

    I found Jim on a search for "telecaster jazz" and landed on the lovely piece, 'Jim talks Telecasters & Princetons'. (The guys I play with are Princeton people, for all the good reasons.)

    I'm a drummer just picking up fretted instruments (this will amuse many of you), and am trying to find musical guitar influences as I learn my first chords (very, VERY amusing, I am sure).

    As a New Yorker for over 20 years and no stranger to 55 Bar (up until '07), I still had never heard of Jim, but was delighted this week by his enthusiasm and generous, uninhibited sharing -- no less than his musicality. Jim seems like he would be a great, natural teacher; and I'm looking forward to receiving Orange and looking into the stock lessons when I get up the hill.

    Blesssings, - SH
  • A bandmate and friend of mine took a trip to New York and saw Jim in a club. He bought "Heaven is Creepy," brought it home and played it for me. Been a fan since!

    I just discovered I had heard him years before that though, on Cake's 'Prolonging the Magic' record. An album I really enjoyed in my high school years.
  • I first heard of Jim through Guitar Player magazine. I'm a Tele guy, a '68 and two Warmoths that I built and finished myself. Current project is an Allparts Paisley body. It will have Seymour Duncan stacked p'ups and a four-way switch. Still looking around at necks - I insist on Made in U.S.A. parts. Jim, thanks for the music!
  • I found Jim's music a little over a year ago... I believe his name popped up along some TDPRI thread discussing 'Tele-Masters.' I then found 'Orange' on Spotify and was blown away. His tunes have been digitally spinning daily ever since. I've downloaded most of his albums on iTunes (including Orange to support the artist), purchased a lesson or two along with Truefire's Sonic Tele and just recently saw a great show at the 55 Bar. Looking to get to Rockwood soon!

    My 6 year old son may be a little Campy'd-out but he can play whatever he wants when the car payment and mortgage are in his name!

    Thanks for the inspiration Jim!

  • Hi, I remember reading about him years ago in Guitar Player and I thought,"Well this makes a nice change from all the pointy headstock tattooed and pierced everywhere brigade that's been featured lately. Sounds interesting; I'll have to check it out."
    Fast forward a few years; driving along late at night after a gig and heard the wackiest instrumental version of,"Cry Me a River" on the lower end of the dial and I had to wait about five songs in a row for the dj to announce who it was. I went straight out the next day and bought,"Heaven Is Creepy" and it stayed in my CD player for a long time.
    I enjoy Jim's eclectic, unpredictable approach to music and the pure tones and delicious noises he makes. The Telecaster hasn't sounded so good in a long time; simplicity and unafraid to push the envelope and take chances.
    I'm a fan for life, as of course many of you are too.
  • I am a real “newbie” to Mr. Campilongo’s music. I too first saw him on YouTube on a Fender production talking about the Princeton Reverb Re-Issue amp. Was wowed by his sound through that Princeton.
  • IIRC, I heard Nels Cline talking about Jim, like, around 2003-2004, and I figured that if Nels dug him, I would too.

    I kept an eye out for Jim's stuff and found "Live At The Du Nord." Since the Du Nord was one of my old hangouts, I figured it had to be good, and by golly, it was spectacular. It's still one of my favorite live albums.
  • Like ColinJohn, I found out about Jim a long while back (late 90's) due to the GP article he used to contribute. and similarly I liked that he stood out from the crowd of "shredders". he was still a San Fran guy in those days. I got "Loose" from the 10 gallon cats, and then played the hell outta "Heavy" when it came out. Been a fan ever since.
  • I've known about Jim since the '70s. We both took lessons from Bunnie Gregoire at Bronstein's Music in South San Francisco. I probably ran into him a few times at recitals and whatnot back then but didn't hang out with him. Bunnie always told her other students about Jim and tried to get us to be as dedicated a student as he was. Needless to say, I wasn't as dedicated or talented as Jim (and I switched to bass).

    I ran into him again in the late '90s when my band played at Above Paradise in San Francisco (we were based out of Davis). Coincidentally he was playing after us. Our guitarist, again coincidentally, played a Telecaster through a Vibrolux even though he didn't know about Jim at the time. I was excited to see him and our guitarist was completely blown away so we accidentally became the jerks who made him spend almost his entire break talking to them. Sorry, Jim.
  • Ha!
    I still have a love for Bunnie. She was so encouraging and hip. She turned me onto Howard Roberts, she liked Roy Buchanan and bought me a Blind Lemon Jefferson LP for my birthday. She was wonderful- and a bit feisty too, but she was always interesting.

  • Thank you all - so so so much for writing in this thread.
  • For me, it was Jim‘s „Sonic Tele“ lessons for Truefire as a starting point. A couple of CDs and additional lessons later, I am still very intrigued by Jim‘s fearless musical explorations and technique coupled with his obvious love for very different styles of music.
    Many thanks for enriching my musical journey over the last couple of years, Jim!
  • I read about "Orange" in a magazine. I don't remember which one. I listened to it and that was that. Hooked. Jim's diverse playing continues to blow my mind. In my opinion, Jim's lessons are amongst the best out there. I really appreciate everything Jim brings to the instrument and to those of us that share his passion for music.
  • For a while now I am flying into NYC almost twice a week from somewhere in Europe. It never happened to be a Monday until this one night in 2017.

    So it was quite amazing for me so be able
    to see Jim and his trio live in Rockwood.
    My jetlag was gently sonically blown away -immediately.

    The way Jim thinks and then plays (his)
    music is very unique in my humble opinion.
    Playing myself a little it happens sometimes
    that someone is saying :
    "...you sound like....whoever."
    As humans we are eventually always influenced or inspired by someone or something and what makes the twist for me is how Jim is taking the twist into his songs. It is relaxing and still creates a sweet tension towards the resolution.
    (bringing back Roy Buchanon to attention)
    For me Jim feels like a sculptor who is sculpting/shaping tones out and build
    something new out of it.

    So how did I came to hear JC?
    I was simply checking live music places in
    New York and came across Rockwood Music Hall and the JC trio gig.
    Flying in from Europe tired, jet lagged with the expectation to see a unique musician and his trio.

    And man, that was the most
    influential gig in my life.

    Thank you for this.
  • What a beautiful poetic post. Thank you! I'm glad you found my music - and here we are. Have a great day - Jim

  • I was in a local guitar store and heard two employees talking about Jim- it was shortly before he came to Detroit. I’d never heard of him, and mentioned that I liked melodic guitarist and didn’t care for shredders. Then you’d really like Jim, they said. I checked out his you tube videos and instantly became a fan.
  • Apologies in advance – this could be a long post.

    I picked up the first Little Willies CD soon after it was released. I can’t remember where, but I do remember it seemed like an interesting compilation. Norah was familiar, of course, and I remembered Jim’s Ten Gallon Cats ads in the back of Guitar Player magazine. So, worth a shot, right?

    That CD took up the number one slot in my car CD player for years, partially because the ejection mechanism didn’t work very well. It was the soundtrack of our family road trips, the daily commute, and grocery runs. We listened to it so often that my youngest daughter told me that she learned to sing harmony from it. I gained a deep appreciation for Telecasters and weird bends, and realized the power of simple music with a complex musical backstory.

    Two years ago, my daughter – now an adult and a musician in her own right – and I took a trip to Brooklyn so that she could record with some friends. It was an extended weekend, so on Monday we headed into Manhattan to see Jim at the Rockwood. Nadia spent the whole show at the edge of the stage, and afterwards we both shook hands with him and headed off to Mona’s to go see a bluegrass jam with some people we met there that night. In all, a fantastic, memorable event.

    Fast forward to tonight: my daughter’s band (Deux Trois) are playing a showcase in NYC, and of all the places they could have played, it turns out they’re playing at Rockwood. There’s no real relationship between her music and Jim’s; hers is heavy and sounds like and electronica (without the synths) / punk fusion. But still, it’s a full circle from the Little Willies to her playing in NYC.

    And the CD is still in my car.
  • That's a great story and I hope to see you and Nadia soon.
  • I can't remember how I was introduced to Jim's music, but today I went into a local guitar shop to buy some strings and got into a conversation with an employee about behind the nut bends. I mentioned that I was giving 9s a shot as recommended by Jim Campilongo. He looked at me puzzled, and I went into a 10 minute monologue that ended in "just do a YouTube search". I was a little dismayed that he didn't know who Jim was (The shop is a Fender dealer), but I must of made an impression because as I was leaving he said, "Hey, how do you spell that name?"
  • Don't feel bad- It took me years to spell Campilongo...
  • I'm going to stop back in next week to see if he followed up and checked Jim's stuff out.
  • Oddly enough, I'd known of Jim for years and years, knew he was a Tele guy, knew he played with the Little Willies, knew he was highly regarded, had seen his name countless times over the years in the gobs and gobs of guitar magazines I've subscribed to but until the last year never actually listened to him. My loss. But I'm making up for it. I have about 21 or 22 guitars (I think) but the one model I don't own is a Tele. Guess what I'm jonesing for now?

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