Jim Schwall

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Jim Schwall
Born (1942-11-12) November 12, 1942 (age 76)
OriginChicago, Illinois, U.S.
GenresBlues, folk
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, mandolin
Years active1964 – present
Associated actsSiegel-Schwall Band
Jim Schwall Band

Jim Schwall (born November 12, 1942) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, and photographer. He is best known as a co-founder and member of the Siegel-Schwall Band.[1][2][3]

Musical career[edit]

Jim Schwall was born in Chicago, Illinois, and currently resides in the Madison, Wisconsin area. A singer-songwriter, he plays guitar, as well as mandolin, bass guitar, and other instruments. He studied music at Roosevelt University. There he met Corky Siegel, and became interested in blues music. Schwall and Seigel formed a blues duo in 1964, playing at Chicago bars and clubs. They performed regularly at Pepper's Lounge and at Big John's, where well known, established blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Willie Dixon would often sit in.[4] The duo expanded to a quartet and became the Siegel-Schwall Band. Schwall's amplified Gibson B-25 acoustic guitar was a distinctive component of the band's sound.

The Siegel-Schwall Band became quite popular, and by 1967 were touring nationally, performing at large venues like the Fillmore West and sharing the bill with well-known rock bands.[5][6] Between 1966 and 1974, they released ten albums. They were also noted for their collaborations with Seiji Ozawa, combining blues with classical music. After 1974, they disbanded, but the band re-formed in 1987. They still play occasional live dates and have released two albums of new material.[2]

Schwall is the leader of his own blues-rock band, the Jim Schwall Band. This band formed in the mid-1970s, and has continued playing live on an intermittent basis to the present time.

Schwall has also been involved in numerous other musical projects. He plays guitar and accordion in the band So Dang Yang, and is the bassist for the Cajun Strangers. He holds a Ph.D. in musical composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993, and has taught music at the college level.


Jim Schwall is also a professional photographer, and has done many different types of photography. In recent years he has worked at creating art prints that combine human figures and natural landscapes. He sometimes uses a 19th-century photographic technique known as non-silver printing that predates the gelatin silver process.

Political activism[edit]

Schwall has been active in progressive political causes. In 2002 he ran for mayor of Madison, Wisconsin.[7]


For Schwall's recordings with the Siegel-Schwall Band, see Siegel-Schwall Band.

  • A Wedding Present from Jim and Cherie Schwall – Jim and Cherie Schwall (private pressing, 1973)
  • Spring Vacation – The Jim Schwall Band
  • Growing Old – Jim Schwall
  • Piñata – So Dang Yang [EP]
  • Cajun Country Ramble – The Cajun Strangers
  • Short Stories – Jim Schwall (Waterbug Records, 2010)
  • Bar Time Lovers – Jim Schwall (CONUNDRUM InterArts, 2014)


  • "Mr. Monster" / "Don't Drive When You've Been Drinking" – The Jim Schwall Band (Dynamic Voice, 1976)


  1. ^ Jim Schwall at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b Siegel-Schwall Band biography at AllMusic
  3. ^ Jim Schwall biography at the official Siegel-Schwall Band site
  4. ^ Widen, Larry (2005). Tombstone Blues. Apple Core Publishing Group. pp. 55–60. ISBN 1-4116-4823-4.
  5. ^ Concert review of the Siegel-Schwall Band at the Fillmore West, Billboard, March 27, 1971, pp. 28, 44
  6. ^ Milano, Dean (2009). The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s and 1970s. Arcadia Publishing. p. 47. ISBN 0-7385-7729-4.
  7. ^ "Schwall Joins Zipperer in Attempt to Oust Establishment", The Badger Herald, November 26, 2002

External links[edit]