Jim Van Cleve

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This article is about an American fiddle player. For the early professional American football player and college football coach of the same name, see James Van Cleve.
Jim Van Cleve
Instruments Fiddle
Associated acts Mountain Heart

Jim Van Cleve, born October 12, 1978 in Canton, North Carolina is an American fiddle player, songwriter, session musician, and producer. He is a founding member of the popular band Mountain Heart, and a Grammy winning session musician and Grammy nominated solo artist.

Van Cleve won many fiddle contests as a youth. While still in high school, Van Cleve became a member of Ric-o-chet and Lou Reid and Carolina, prominent bands in the national bluegrass scene at the time.

In 1997, bluegrass and gospel legend Doyle Lawson invited Van Cleve to join his group, Quicksilver. Van Cleve left college (UNC-Greensboro) to become the band's new fiddle player.

In 1998, banjo player Barry Abernathy, singer/guitarist Steve Gulley, and Grammy-winning mandolinist (formerly of Alison Krauss and Union Station) Adam Steffey began plans to form a band. Van Cleve came on board and the band Mountain Heart was formed. Van Cleve has played a major role in the success and popularity of the band, as well as a driving force in creating more complex musical arrangements.

Jim has become highly regarded and much sought after both as a session musician and as a record producer in the worlds of Country and Americana music. Van Cleve has quickly built a broad-ranging and artistically acclaimed body of production work. A partial list of projects Van Cleve has produced:

  • Mountain Heart - That Just Happened (Earned a 4 Star Review from COUNTRY MUSIC WEEKLY magazine in 2011)
  • Jim VanCleve - No Apologies (Grammy Nominated, Indie Roots Americana Album of the Year)
  • At the Speed of Bluegrass - Bluegrass Blog Theme (Commissioned Theme Song for the world's most heavily traveled Acoustic Music Website)
  • IBMA Awards Show Theme Song - (Commissioned Theme for the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show)
  • Mountain Heart - Road That Never Ends
  • Monroeville - Monroeville
  • Ben & Rose - Self Titled
  • Del Shields - Let the Cowboy Sing (Host of Best of America by Horseback, a top rated television show on the RFD Network)
  • NewFound Road - Same Old Place
  • Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain - CHHR 2
  • Acoustic Evolution - Bluegrass Goes Back to the Future (Exclusive Americana Compilation for BORDERS BOOKS and MUSIC)
  • Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain - Self Titled
  • Mashville Brigade - Smash Hits of Bluegrass, Vol. 1
  • Tribute to Taylor Swift - Pickin' on Taylor Swift - CMH
  • Clay Jones - Mountain Tradition
  • On May 9, 2006, Van Cleve released his first solo recording, No Apologies. The album won rave reviews and an uncommon amount of press attention.

The awards nominations for "No Apologies" were many. The lead track, "Nature of the Beast", was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006 for "Best Country Instrumental Performance". The first single from the album, Let The Big Dog Eat, was the No. 1 Song in Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine for three months. The album topped out at number 5 in the Billboard Bluegrass Sales chart. The project won "Album of the Year" in the Folk category of the Indie Awards. The album was nominated for "Instrumental Project of the Year" in 2007 at the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards. Jim was also nominated for "Fiddle Player of the Year" in 2007 for his work on "No Apologies", and the many other recordings he played a part in that year.

    • In 2008, VanCleve was recruited to write and record a new Awards Show Theme Song by the IBMA (an honor previously held by the 12-time Grammy winner, Jerry Douglas, and Nashville recording legend, Mark O'Connor before him). The new theme song, "Road From Rosine" was debuted at the 2007 IBMA Awards Show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Jim was recruited to write an instrumental track for a studio project by Sierra Hull, the young mandolin and vocal prodigy seen on television, either sitting in with Alison Krauss, or as an actress in the new Billy Graham movie. Ron Block (of Alison Krauss and Union Station), and Sierra produced her debut solo project and commissioned Jim to write the song, which eventually was entitled SMASHVILLE. Sierra's album, Secrets, is now available on Rounder Records.

See also[edit]

Official FaceBook Page

Official Home Page

Jim Van Cleve MySpace Page

Mountain Heart Home Page