Born on May 31, 1951 in Washington D.C., Nalls embarked on a busy session career in the early 1970s, joining singer/songwriter Alex Taylor’s band while Taylor was a Capricorn Records label mate of the Allman Brothers'. It was during this period that Nalls first worked with future Allmans keyboardist Chuck Leavell, an association that would prove fruitful for both musicians after the Allmans' 1976 split.
Alongside fellow Allmans vets Lamar Williams and Jaimoe, Leavell decided to start a new group after the Allman Brothers Band folded, enlisting Nalls for the band he had dubbed Sea Level — a play on C. Leavell. While they never achieved the same level of commercial success as the Allmans, they toured and recorded steadily over the next five years, completing five albums before folding in 1981.
Following Sea Level's breakup, Nalls performed with a number of acts, spending a period as a Nashville session player in the 1980s and working with artists such as Bodyworks and B.J. Thomas. He started the 1990s by joining singer T. Graham Brown's touring band, and remained in the lineup until shortly after receiving his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 1994.
While his symptoms made it difficult to continue performing, Nalls kept playing, releasing the solo album Ain’t No Stranger in 1999. He released a follow-up album – The Jimmy Nalls Project – just two days before his death. It features several famous guest stars like Brad Whitford, Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford, Warren Haynes, Larry Carlton and Chuck Leavell.
- James "Jimmy" Albert Nalls of Nashville, Tennessee | 1951 - 2017 | Obituary accessed November 29, 2017.
- Jimmy Nalls Project
- Sea Level Guitarist Jimmy Nalls Dead at 66, ultimateclassicrock.com; accessed July 1, 2017.
- Guitar Star Jimmy Nalls Dies Amid A Celebration Of His Life, wmot.org; accessed July 1, 2017.