Jim Mills (banjo player)

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Jim Mills
Jim Mills at NashCamp 2011

James "Jim" Mills (born December 18, 1966) is an American musician known primarily as a bluegrass banjo player who plays in the 3-finger style popularized by Earl Scruggs. Jim is also well known as an expert on pre-war Gibson banjos. He currently resides in Durham, North Carolina.[1]

Jim worked as the banjo player for Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for 14 years until the summer of 2010, when he left the band to focus on his business buying, selling and trading rare pre-war banjos.[2] In the 1980s, prior to his stint with Skaggs, Jim performed for 5 years with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.[3] He has 3 solo albums and has performed on many others. He has won the IBMA banjo player of the award 6 times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006), more than any other player,[4] and also won IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year for his Bound to Ride album.[5] Jim has won 6 Grammy Awards.[6]

Jim owns several pre-war Gibson Mastertone banjos, including the famous "Mack Crow" banjo (named after its original owner, it is the only factory-produced gold-plated RB-75 that Gibson ever made.) and the RB-4 previously owned by the late Snuffy Jenkins. Huber Banjos produces a Jim Mills signature model based on the Mack Crow. Jim released a book on pre-war Gibson banjos in 2009, Gibson Mastertone: Flathead 5-String Banjos of the 1930′s and 1940′s.[7]

Selected Discography[edit]

Solo Albums:

  • (1998) Bound to Ride
  • (2002) My Dixie Home
  • (2005) Hide Head Blues

Also performed on:

  • (1987) Can't Stop Now (Summer Wages)[8]
  • (1989) I Heard the Angels Singing (Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver)
  • (1990) My Heart is Yours (Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver)
  • (1992) Pressing on Regardless (Doyle Lawson)
  • (1992) Treasures Money Can't Buy (Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver)
  • (1994) Love of a Woman (Bass Mountain Boys)
  • (1998) Southern Flavor (James Price)
  • (1999) Ancient Tones (Ricky Skaggs)
  • (1999) Grass is Blue (Dolly Parton)
  • (1999) Soldier of the Cross (Ricky Skaggs)
  • (2000) Carry Me Across the Mountain (Dan Tyminski)
  • (2000) In the Blue Room (Alan Bibey)
  • (2001) History of the Future (Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder)
  • (2001) Little Sparrow (Dolly Parton)
  • (2002) Ricky Skaggs Sings the Songs of Bill Monroe (Ricky Skaggs)
  • (2002) Where I Come From (Bobby Osborne)
  • (2003) Live at the Charleston Music Hall (Ricky Skaggs)
  • (2003) The Three Pickers (Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, & Ricky Skaggs)
  • (2004) Brand New Strings (Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder)
  • (2004) School of Bluegrass (Doyle Lawson)
  • (2005) Skaggs Family Christmas (Ricky Skaggs)
  • (2006) Instrumentals (Ricky Skaggs)
  • (2007) Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby (Ricky Skaggs)
  • (2008) Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 & 1947 (Ricky Skaggs)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Brantley, Michael. Jim Mills: Banjoist, Businessman, Author. Banjo Newsletter - The 5-String Banjo Magazine 36:9:429 (July 2009)
  2. ^ Brantley, Michael. Jim Mills: Banjoist, Businessman, Author. Banjo Newsletter - The 5-String Banjo Magazine 36:9:429 (July 2009)
  3. ^ http://bluegrasstoday.com/13554/end-of-an-era-jim-mills-leaving-ricky-skaggs/
  4. ^ http://ibmaawards.org/node/42
  5. ^ Brantley, Michael. Jim Mills: Banjoist, Businessman, Author. Banjo Newsletter - The 5-String Banjo Magazine 36:9:429 (July 2009)
  6. ^ http://bluegrasstoday.com/13554/end-of-an-era-jim-mills-leaving-ricky-skaggs/
  7. ^ http://bluegrasstoday.com/21594/catching-up-with-jim-mills/
  8. ^ (Folk Library Index (www.folklib.net) Rebel Records, REB-1659, front jacket / back jacket / label side A / side B)