Jimmy Kirkham – Entertainer – Living

"I was born at Clarendon Station in December of 1943, the youngest of seven children. Both my Mother and Father were musical. Mother played piano and lap guitar and Dad played fiddle and piano. At around three to four years of age, I started to learn piano by ear as there was no one around to teach me. So, I experimented on my own. Many times, my Father would get me out of bed around one or two o'clock in the morning to chord on the piano to his fiddle playing, while entertaining some old drinking buddies. At age nine, I played my first paying gig in the dance hall at Mississippi Station with Bill Hanah's band, because their piano player was sick that night. I was paid two dollars for my efforts (eight quarters). I ended up playing for Bill for seven or eight months.

I think I started playing guitar when I was 12. As a result, I started to get some gigs as a guitar player at age 17 or so. I bought my first guitar in a pawn shop in Toronto, while working on the railroad at that time. I wish I still had it! At age 22 I ordered a brand new Gretsch Chet Atkins guitar from Peate Music Company in Montreal. Later that year I went on the road as a lead player for the Fortune Trio Band and giged all over Ontario.

The next year our family moved to Kingston and I joined a group called The Imperials. In 1978 I went on the road with Don Cochrane and Sweet Clover band. We travelled Canada-wide for about five years. During this time, I recorded an album with Don in Ottawa and did recordings for other musicians (both piano and guitar). As well, I played with the Abrams‘ Family producing their recording "Doris James”. In 1992, I wrote, arranged and produced my own recording of "It's Me." Over the years, I have learned to play piano, guitar, mandolin, mouth organ, Jew's harp and bass guitar."


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