Jim Campilongo

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Jim Campilongo
Background information
Genres Jazz, Rock, Americana, Alternative, Country
Occupation(s) Musician, Instrumentalist, Composer
Instruments Electric and Acoustic Guitar
Labels Blue Hen Records
Associated acts Cake, Bright Eyes, JJ Cale, Norah Jones, Teddy Thompson, Nels Cline, Al Anderson, Julia Darling, Peter Rowan, and Gillian Welch/David Rawlings
Website www.jimcampilongo.com

Jim Campilongo (born July 8, 1958) is an American guitarist/composer born in South San Francisco, currently residing in New York City. Campilongo is mainly a solo musician and writes instrumental compositions but he is also a member of The Little Willies, which includes Norah Jones as lead vocalist.

Campilongo plays a Fender Custom Shop Campilongo Signature Fender Telecaster and is known for his technical mastery of the Telecaster. His singular, and unique sound relies just as much on technical prowess as it does on feel and emotional depth. He has developed a unique language that is steeped in blues, country, jazz and rock traditions.

Campilongo employs a hybrid right-hand technique that involves the use of both a plectrum and his fingers. He uses a small mandolin pick held between his thumb and forefinger while also plucking with his middle and third fingers. Campilongo uses and endorses Fender Princeton Reverb amplifiers.


Early life[edit]

Jim Campilongo was born in South San Francisco, CA.[1] At 9 years of age Campilongo discovered The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix through his two sisters. He became very interested in improvisation saying in one interview, "I knew I liked improvisation and long musical journeys...so I used to buy albums based exclusively on how long the tracks were.... That’s how I discovered John Coltrane Live in Japan, John McLaughlin Devotion, a couple of different Cream albums."[2]

Early career[edit]

Campilongo’s career began in the mid 1970s when he studied guitar in his native San Francisco with Bunnie Gregoire, who taught the pre-teen to embrace everything from George Van Eps to John Denver. Campilongo's first instrument was purchased with Green Stamps. During high school he regularly jammed with drummer pal Ken Owen and at 17 began performing with area bands.[3] One of Campilongo's greatest influences at the time was Roy Buchanan whom he saw at least 20 or 30 times in the Bay area.[2]

Later Career[edit]

Campilongo started his recording career in San Francisco in 1996 with Jim Campilongo and the 10 Gallon Cats.[4] After several years of performing with the Cats Campilongo left to pursue a new direction with his music and reached a new creative pinnacle with 1998’s Table For One.

In 2002, Campilongo left San Francisco and moved to New York, where he formed his Electric Trio, which toured Europe and Scandinavia and recorded the acclaimed album American Hips on Blue Hen Records.[4] In 2003 Campilongo formed the group The Little Willies with Norah Jones, Richard Julian, Lee Alexander, and Dan Rieser. He has performed, live and in the studio, with artists such as Cake, Bright Eyes, JJ Cale, Norah Jones, Teddy Thompson, Al Anderson, Gillian Welch/David Rawlings, Peter Rowan, Jo Williamson, Sunny Ozell, Marilyn Carino and Julia Darling.

The wide range of artists that Jim Campilongo has performed with speak to the rich musical style he has developed. Almost any musical genre or subgenre can describe his playing style. TimeOut NY's Steve Smith wrote, "His prodigious talent is always evident as the band burns through tunes crammed with rock, jazz and country flourishes."[5] In 2007 he released Heaven Is Creepy which was his best received to date.[3]

Campilongo released the critically acclaimed Orange in 2010. ToneQuest Report's review stated, "It is the provenance of a precious few who can so beautifully mine the harmonic depth of a Telecaster with the grace and fluid fantasy of Jim Campilongo. Orange offers another vivid glimpse into the mind of an artist who paints masterpieces with the guitar."[6] Produced by New York based Anton Fier of Golden Palominos and recorded in Brooklyn, Orange features Campilongo with acoustic bassist Stephan Crump and drummer/percussionist Tony Mason.

In January 2011, Jim Campilongo was nominated for The 10th Annual Independent Music Awards under the Instrumental Song category for "Awful Pretty, Pretty Awful".[7]

His latest album is Dream Dictionary (released January 21, 2014). The album features Chris Morrissey (bass) and Josh Dion (drums). Other notable contributions comes from Steve Cardenas who plays on two acoustic numbers and Norah Jones who sings on the album's only vocal number "Here I Am" by Ray Charles. The album is produced by Andy Tommasi. One reviewer wrote, "…Campilongo plays like he’s engaging in a long, very personal conversation: It ranges from heated to relaxed, angst-ridden, and even a little flirty—but it’s always fluent, spontaneous and full of nuance, texture, and emotional truth." [8]

Campilongo maintains a residency at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side in New York City where he plays nearly every Monday night. Notable guest artists that have joined him on stage include Charlie Hunter, Steve Cardenas, Norah Jones, Adam Levy, Martha Wainwright, Chris Cheek, Leah Siegel, and Nels Cline.

Jim Campilongo's original music can be heard on national commercials including National Grid, Volkswagen, SBC, Michelin and Jack Daniel's. Campilongo is also a published guitar teacher and contributing editor for Guitar Player Magazine.



  • 2015 Last Night, This Morning, Jim Campilongo & Honeyfingers
  • 2014 Dream Dictionary, Jim Campilongo
  • 2010 Orange, Jim Campilongo
  • 2006 Heaven is Creepy, Jim Campilongo Electric Trio
  • 2003 American Hips, Jim Campilongo Electric Trio
  • 2000 Live At The DuNord, Jim Campilongo Band
  • 2000 Heavy, Jim Campilongo & the 10 Gallon Cats
  • 1998 Table For One, Jim Campilongo Band
  • 1997 Loose, Jim Campilongo & the 10 Gallon Cats
  • 1996 Jim Campilongo & the 10 Gallon Cats, Jim Campilongo & the 10 Gallon Cats

Other Projects[edit]

  • Compilation, "The Loner 2 - Tribute to Jeff Beck" track “I’m Helen Keller and You’re a Waffle Iron” ESC Records (2014)
  • Lichis - "Modo Avion" on "Horas De Vuelo" and "Tan Felices" Carne de Cancion Records (2014)
  • Norah Jones, "The Vinyl Collection" Box Set on "Sweet Dreams" - Blue Note (2013)
  • So Brown, "Point Legere" - So Brown Records (2013)
  • The Little Willies, "For The Good Times" – Milking Bull Records/EMI (2012)
  • Bryan Nebel, "Bringing Myself Home" (2012)
  • Stuffy Shmitt, "Industrial Love", Guitar on "Dumb it Down" - Realistic Records (2012)
  • Rosita Kess, "Northern Sky" Dauphine Records (2011)
  • Sun Rise "Sun Rise" Jim Campilongo Band on "This Old Man" Starbucks Coffee Company (2011)
  • Nick Casey "Can't Reason Through Love" Guitar on "Bandages" (2011)
  • Jo Williamson "Be The Man" Joscream (2011)
  • Norah Jones "Featuring Norah Jones" Little Willies guitar on "Love Me" Blue Note (2010)
  • Howard Fishman "The World will Be Different" guitar on "Summer Rain" on Autumn Monkey Farm Records (2010)
  • Marika Hughes "The Simplest Thing" (Sideman and Writer) "Pepper" DD Records (2010)
  • Martha Wainwright "I Know You're Married.." Rounder (2008)
  • Two Foot Yard "Borrowed Arms" Yard Work (2008)
  • Teddy Thompson "Upfront and Down Low" Verve Records(2007)
  • Sean Walsh "American Music" Eyeball Records (2007)
  • Brandi Shearer, "Close to Dark" – Amoeba Records (2007) (Sideman and Co-Writer "Swampland" )
  • Chiara Civello "The Space Between" Universal Music Europe 2007 Co-Writer "L Train"
  • The Little Willies, "The Little Willies" – Milking Bull Records/EMI (2006)
  • Sasha Dobson "Modern Romance" Secret Sun (2006) As Writer "Cold To Colder"
  • Mudville, "Iris Nova" – (2006)
  • April Cope, "Petals Fall" – Limelight Disc (2006)
  • Richard Julian, "Manhattan" – Blue Note (2006)
  • Wild Animus (Audiobook) – Too Far (2006)
  • "Feber 2 New York" New York Compilation — Amigo Music (2005)
  • Steve Yerkey, "metaneonatureboy" – Echo Records (2005)
  • David Gleason, "Just Fall To Pieces" – Well Worn Records (2005)
  • Julian Summerhill, "The Hologram Cowboys Lay Down With Their Horses" – 2005
  • Michael Shelly, "Goodbye Cheater" – confidentialrecordings 2005
  • Mudville, "The Glory Of Man Is Not In Vogue" – (2004)
  • Sonya Greta, "Vigilante Arcade" – (2003)
  • Ann Dyer, "When I Close My Eyes" – Sunnyside 2001 As Writer "Sarah"
  • Joe Goldmark, "Strong Like Bull but Sensitive Like Squirrel" – Hmg Records (2001)
  • Kurt Stevenson and Kate Maher — Pentecostal Bouffant Record, "Songs for Camp and Tabernacle" – 2001
  • "Fortune Cookies" – Various Artists Fortune Records (2000)
  • "Full Tan" – Vol. 1 Various Artists Fonit Cetra Records (1999)
  • Joe Goldmark, "All Hat No Cattle" – Hmg Records (1999)
  • "Stranger Than Fiction" – Various Artists Oglio Records (1999)
  • Cake, "Prolonging the Magic" – Capricorn (1998)
  • San Francisco Song Cycle, Vol. 1 Various Artists Olde West (1998)
  • Jim Greer, "Rover Songs" – Fortune Records (1998)
  • "Treasures Left Behind: Remembering Kate Wolf" – Various Artists — Red House (1998)
  • Joe Goldmark, "Steelin' the Beatles" – Lo-ball Records (1997)
  • Preacher Boy and The Natural Blues, "Gutters and Pews" – Blind Pig (1996)
  • Preacher Boy and The Natural Blues, "Preacher Boy & The Natural Blues" – Blind Pig (1995)
  • Stephen Yerkey, "Confidence, Man" – Heyday (1995)
  • Looters, "Imago Mundi" – Monster Music (1992)
  • Wilson Gil And The Willful Sinners, "Gunstore, Liquourstore Project" – (1992)
  • Komotion International Various Artists (1989)
  • Click Dark, "President's Breakfast" – (1988)
  • Katt, "Katt" – Nutone (1987)
  • Po Go Bo, "Po Go Bo" – Nutone (1987)
  • The Know, "The Know" – Nutone (1987)


External links[edit]