Highlights

Some content on this website is saved in an alternative format. To view these files, download the following free software or you can skip to the main content if you already have the appropriate readers.

  • Use Adobe Acrobat to read Portable Document Format (PDF) files: Download Adobe® Reader®
  • Microsoft Word file viewer and converter programs to enable those who do not have MS- Word or have another version of MS-Word to open and view MS-Word files: Download Word file Viewer
  • Microsoft offers Microsoft Excel file viewer and converter programs to enable those who do not have MS-Excel or have another version of MS-Excel to view MS-Excel files:Download Excel file viewer

 

A Weekend of Entertainment, Participation and Exhibits

Along the banks of the historic Suwannee River in White Springs, Florida, folk artists have gathered to celebrate Florida’s land, people, and diverse cultural heritage. Since its humble beginning in 1953, the Florida Folk Festival has not only grown to become Florida’s most prestigious affair, but also named “Florida’s Best Cultural Event.” The festival has recently been recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a “Top 20 Event” in the southeastern United States for 2015.

We're thrilled to announce the following featured artists and guest performers for the 63rd Annual Florida Folk Festival scheduled for May 22 - May 24, 2015:

 Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Saturday evening

The iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in Country Rock and American Roots Music, continues to add to their legendary status. Founded in California during 1965, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has lasted longer than virtually any other country-based rock group of their era. Jeff Hanna and Bruce Kunkel performed as a duo in high school, then joined jam sessions at a local guitar shop during college. Joining four other musicians they formed a jug band and started playing clubs. Within a few years the group landed a recording contract with Liberty Records and released their debut album, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, in April of 1967. Their first single, "Buy for Me the Rain," became a hit and got them noticed.

Some setbacks eventually found the band with a new line-up and a more polished sound. They released a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker's "Mr. Bojangles," and suddenly, the band had a following bigger than anything they'd known. This began a string of successful albums that cemented them as a noteworthy band, although performers and even the band name changed over the years.

With multi-platinum and gold records, strings of top ten hits such as "Fishin' In The Dark" and "Mr. Bojangles", multiple Grammy, IBMA, CMA Awards and nominations, the band's accolades continue to accumulate. Their "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" album has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame. NGDB’s recording of "Mr. Bojangles" was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010.

The current members, Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and Florida resident John McEuen spend their time touring all over the country and are still making music, like their new album “Speed of Life”.          

You won’t want to miss seeing these legends before they’re on the move again!

Billy Dean - Sunday evening

Festival favorite, Billy Dean, a native of Quincy, Florida, was raised appreciating the value of music and has a diverse array of musical influences. After attending college on a basketball scholarship, Billy moved to Nashville in 1983 and by 1990 had recorded his first Top 5 Hit "Only Here For A Little While." Since then, Billy has transcended genres with his unique repertoire earning numerous awards, including: The Academy of Country Music's Song of the Year for "Somewhere In My Broken Heart", ACM New Male Vocalist of The Year, BMI Pop Awards, BMI Song Awards, BMI Million Air Plays Award, Country Music Television Rising Star Award, NSAI Song of The Year, and a Grammy for a "Country Tribute: Amazing Grace."

Billy's appeal reaches beyond the music world. He has appeared on numerous television shows as well as made-for TV movies, including: Blue Valley Songbird, A Face to Kill For, Lois & Clark, One Life to Live, Diagnosis Murder, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, The Montel Show, and many others.

After twelve albums and eleven Top 10 singles spanning over a period of eighteen years, Billy has founded the publishing company BDMG (Billy Dean Music Group). Billy continues to make contributions to the Country Music world by building brands with music and empowering children, by being a spokesperson for Averitt Cares For Kids, and Sunkist's Take A Stand Program.

His latest album "Let Them Be Little" was inspired by those closest to him, his two children Hannah and Eli. Billy's illustrious career was recently recognized with a proclamation from the State of Tennessee House of Representatives.

Ben Prestage  - Friday Evening

Festival audiences better hold onto their seats and prepare to enjoy a mesmerizing and stunning performance when the award winning, multi-talented one-man-band maestro, Ben Prestage, takes the stage.

Born the grandson of a Mississippi sharecropper, Ben Prestage has been soaked in Blues tradition and Mississippi culture since birth. Growing up in the swamps of south central Florida, Prestage began to mix Mississippi Country Blues with his own brand of Florida Swamp Blues. This muddy- water- meets- black- water stew has led him to perform from California to the Carolinas to the Florida Keys, in large festivals, every kind of bar, and sometimes on downtown sidewalks.

Prestage spent some time as a street performer on historic Beale Street, while living in Memphis, TN. He used to share a spot in front of the New Daisy Theatre with modern blues legends Robert Belfour (Fat Possum Records) and Richard Johnston (2001 International Blues Competition winner). He has won numerous awards including "The Most Unique Performer" and he is the only two-time recipient of the Lyon/Pitchford Award for "Best Diddley-Bow Player." Ben is also a 2012 nominee for both the Independent Music Awards and the Blues Music Awards.

Being a street musician in the "Blues capital of the South" threw Prestage's music in a new direction.  His innovative approach to instrumentation, songwriting, and singing, all painted on a traditional historic background produces a vivid picture of the next generation of Blues and Americana music.

To his show, he added a cigar box guitar (made by Memphian and one-man-band John Lowe), which has stereo guitar, and bass strings that can be played independently or at the same time. Then Ben added a series of four-foot pedals that can be manipulated by the heels and toes of both feet to play a drum kit. The final result is Ben playing guitar, bass, and drums while singing his own brand of Blues that leaves bottles empty and dance floors full where ever his music takes him.

Frank Thomas - Sunday evening

Born and raised in rustic Clay County, Florida songwriter Frank Thomas has native Florida lineage dating back to the late 18th century. Few other songwriters can claim such a strong Florida heritage and sharing his love of Florida is the inspirational thread woven throughout his music and storytelling. He has been given many titles including the Dean of Florida Folk (for the many song-writing assignments he has given over the years), The Grand Old Man of Florida Folk, and is considered one of the most prolific songwriters in Florida.

In the 60s, Thomas toured nationally with several well-known bluegrass groups, most notably the legendary Arkansas Travelers.  Thomas and beloved wife Ann settled into the "Cracker Palace," a Florida style home down Rattlesnake Hammock Road on the ridge just outside of Lake Wales. From there, Frank and Ann Thomas became the most well known duo in Florida music. Ann's big daddy thumping bass, deep rooted harmony singing and humorous jabs at her husband helped make them one of Florida's most popular acts. Frank and Ann Thomas traveled Florida, performing their unique music at schools, festivals, music and folk clubs, on television, and on concert stages. During the 80s, they produced and hosted the first Florida folk music radio show, weekly, on Tampa's WMNF.  Their video "Florida History in Song," won the Florida Historical Societies coveted Golden Quill Award. Other awards received include the prestigious Florida Folk Heritage Award, The Inaugural Jillian Prescott History Award and The Stetson Kennedy Foundation Fellow -Man & Mother Earth Award. Frank was recently honored and inducted into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame -- Florida's most prestigious recognition!

Since Ann's death in 2004, Frank has continued his art as the patriarch of Florida folk music and is still a prolific songwriter: his catalogue numbers more than 500 songs -- all about Florida! A portion of them can be found on his nine albums, including Cracker Nights, Florida Stories, Bingo, Spanish Gold, and Just another Day in the Life of a Florida Cracker. For many years, Frank has hosted the River Gazebo stage at the Florida Folk Festival, where he personally welcomes and presents the state's best singer/ songwriters, reviews their work, gives out songwriting assignments and lots of praise.

While his accomplishments are certainly legendary, humble Frank Thomas will describe himself in one of his favorite cracker phrases: "I ain't nothin' extry."

Amy Carol Webb - Sunday evening

Born and reared in Oklahoma, Amy traces her heritage back to Native Americans through her Great-Grandmothers who settled Oklahoma when it was still a Territory. Amy’s music reflects the same pioneering spirit, tenacity, integrity and never-quit grit. Her father was a composer and concert pianist. Her mother was a singer and worked doing commercials for radio, so Amy’s world was filled with music from the start. Before she was a teenager she was playing guitar and writing her own tunes. After college, Amy decided to devote her time to a musical life.  With her undergraduate degree in performing arts, Amy cultivated a long and rewarding career travelling the world as a performer, recording artist and voice coach.

Amy has long been determined to help others not only through her art but educating as well. As an educator, she’s taught music, creative writing, songwriting and life-skills development from the halls of the University of Miami to the cells of maximum security women’s prisons in Florida. Her calling of faith led her to become Consulting Minister to the River of Grass Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Davie, Florida. She currently resides in Miami Springs.

Amy has long been a performer at the Florida Folk Festival and a very familiar face in the Florida folk circuit. She has released ten independent albums including “Songweaver”,”Naked No Tricks”, and “Moments: Music • Mantra • Music”.  Join her at the Amphitheatre to be drawn into her melodies as she opens your heart and touches your soul.

Bing Futch - Saturday evening

With roots in both African and Seminole Indian cultures, Bing Futch's window to America is a unique landscape of music, words and imagery. He began playing Appalachian mountain dulcimer at Knott's Berry Farm theme park in 1986, working at a Ghost Town shop for Bud & Donna Ford. That same year, Futch founded techno-punk band Crazed Bunnyz, a trio that grew popular in the international underground college radio scene and has remained a fan favorite long after disbanding in 1988. Since then, he has enjoyed a diverse and prolific solo career, composing dozens of scores for film, theater, themed attractions and television.  In 1994, he wrote and recorded music for The Castle of Miracles in Kississimmee, Florida.  In 1999, Futch formed American band Mohave, featuring the mountain dulcimer as the main instrument. The group has performed at the House of Blues in Walt Disney World, Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios Florida and has opened for Molly Hatchet, among other acts. He is the grandson of the late boxing hall-of-famer Eddie Futch. As a solo performer, Bing’s high-energy, crowd pleasing shows and unique approach to the mountain dulcimer combined have made him a much-sought national act from California to Connecticut. Named 2006 "Songwriter of the Year" by the Songwriters Showcases of America (with a 2007 "Song of the Year" award for "Crazy Feels Like"), Bing has become a regularly featured artist at festivals, house concerts, Irish and British pubs and other venues across the country. He's opened for Grammy-award nominated artists Sam & Ruby, bluesman Scott Ainslie, singer/songwriter Larry Mangum, shared the stage with Zydeco king Chubby Carrier, Tom Constanten (The Grateful Dead), national fingerstyle guitar champion Michael Chapdelaine, produced numerous recordings and has published several songbooks. Alongside his performing career, Bing has become a popular instructor of the mountain dulcimer and Native American flute and his video podcast, "Dulcimerica," has been seen and downloaded by over half a million unique viewers

Jeanie Fitchen - Saturday evening

Florida Folk Heritage Award Winner Jeanie Fitchen has been a mainstay at the Florida Folk Festival since she was a very young girl. Longtime festival-goers will always remember the high sweet voice and long brown hair of the slender young child from Merritt Island in the 1960s.

Fitchen’s large catalogue of Florida music includes strong interpretations of songs written by the very icons of the Florida folk genre – artists like Will McLean, Don Grooms, Jim Ballew and Chief Jim Billie. In addition to her popular musical shows, Fitchen enjoys public school appearances, where she presents programs about Florida Folk music, culture and history. Her songs tell wide-eyed children about manatees, alligators, apple snails and mosquitoes while other songs tell stories about Ponce De Leon, pirates, Seminole Indians and Acre Foot Johnson, Florida’s earliest mailman.

When asked why people should care about folk music, Fitchen says, “I think it allows people to reflect, and sometimes it compels people to make changes in their life or world around them.  There will never be another form of music like this.” And there will never be another Jeanie Fitchen, a truly unique performer devoted to Florida Folk music steeped in the tradition of past folk icons and Florida’s diverse cultural history.

Sam Pacetti - Saturday evening

St. Augustine’s Sam Pacetti astonishes devoted fans and newcomers alike with his dazzling command of the steel string guitar. Pacetti learned flamenco style guitar at the knee of his Cuban grandfather, pursued classical guitar studies in his early teens, and became the protégé of Florida’s song and storytelling Travis-style guitar master Gamble Rogers.

Pacetti's first CD, Solitary Travel, was released nearly ten years ago, when he was 22. It got airplay on National Public Radio and Pacetti was voted “Best New Artist” at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. In 2006, Pacetti recorded, Union with long-time friend and guitar virtuoso Gabriel Valla. This recording reflects a journey, through loss and rapture and love too fragile to survive, all passionately embraced. Somewhere along the line, Pacetti became an extraordinary interpreter of other writers' material. Needless to say, Union is beautiful, and musical partner Valla presents guitar parts that are more in support of the songs than as a showpiece of their prodigious instrumental skills.

Pacetti's playing stands out for its spiritual depth and emotional intensity. Festival audiences are sure to be mesmerized and entranced by the fluid melodic styles given with ease and grace from a true master of the guitar. Be prepared for a splendid awe inspiring musical journey!

The Driftwoods - Saturday evening

The Driftwoods perform Bluegrass music in North Florida and all across the Southeast. The four members are Eric Searcy (banjo, dobro), Gabriel Valla (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Elisabeth Williamson (rhythm guitar, banjo, vocals) and Lon Williamson (upright bass, vocals).  Each member brings many years of performing experience to the stage as well as a great variety of songs and styles. From original to contemporary and old-time tunes, their song selections are one of the hallmarks of their stage presentation.

The band has only seen two album releases, “Greetings From Florida” and “Live Bluegrass Music”, but that doesn’t mean they’re not active in the musical community. In addition to playing with The Driftwoods, a majority of its members are involved in other projects. Lis, Lon and Gabriel are also involved with the Gatorbone Band, the studio band for Gatorbone Records, and both have released their own solo records.

So if you’re ready for an extraordinarily experienced band, witness The Driftwoods bring bluegrass to life!

Jon Corneal and Friends with Carl Chambers - Saturday evening

Jon Corneal is known as a pioneer of country-rock, a decorated veteran of the drums who’s played with the likes of Loretta Lynn, Warren Zevon and can claim a close connection to the late Gram Parsons, a fellow Polk County native. As a teenager he was part of a rock & roll band that Carl Chambers and his cousin Gerald put together for a school show. Young and touring Florida, the boys would find themselves evolving two more bands with the assistance of Jim Stafford and Gram Parsons. When Corneal and Stafford moved to Nashville to pursue their dreams, Jon began a long career of playing for notable groups such as The International Submarine Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Byrds. His constant presence in music and innovative style has certainly changed the face of country with a little bit of rock and roll.

Carl Chambers grew up listening to and watching his daddy play the fiddle, along with his uncles on guitar and mandolin as they played those old-time country tunes in the living room. He and his cousin Gerald were inspired by the family talent and playing guitar by the time they were 11 years old. After his teenage years with Corneal and Stafford, Carl got busy in the Florida music industry, including work for local bands and beginning his foray into songwriting.  His big break came as lead guitarist with the Bellamy Brothers in the late 1970s, during which time he recorded two albums with them. After leaving the Brothers, he began working for a Florida studio and concentrated on his writing in earnest, which led to Ricky Skaggs recording some of his work and landing on the Billboard chart. He continues today with a retro rock band from Lakeland, The Rogues.

These two unsung heroes of their genre have come together again and it’ll be quite a show, so get ready for the fathers of country-rock!

Michael Jordan - Friday evening

These days it’s hard to do something new with just an acoustic guitar, but that’s what Michael Jordan is all about. Placing the instrument flat wise across his lap, he combines alternate tunings with tapping techniques and percussion on the body of the guitar creating sounds that defy the formal approach of playing the acoustic. His use of haunting harmonics and his unique voice coupled with reflective heady lyrics build a wall of sound like no other, at times giving the aura of a full band.     His songs span from blissfully beautiful to maniacal rants to catchy hooks; and whether lap style or formal positioned, all are cerebral and leave one pondering the old adage to “Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Jordan has always been attracted to the water; Saint Augustine, his current headquarters for the past four years, is very reminiscent of his childhood home. Michael received his first guitar on his twelfth birthday in Ophelia, Virginia, where he was raised on the Chesapeake Bay, fishing and reading and tromping through the woods. These early years were very influential to the organic nature that was to become a crucial element in his music. When asked of his influences Michael says: “Early on I loved Kirk Hammett then Stevie Ray Vaughn,” (whom he keeps a picture of in his guitar to this day), “then Jimi, however I believe influences are everywhere, in the drip of the faucet or wail of the train in the distance. These natural soundscapes are what surrounded me and moved me when I was young and continue to be my largest source of inspiration.”

 So grab a seat festival goers and prepare to be awed by technique so unique you’ll be left pondering the true creativity Jordan wishes to share with the world.

Belle and The Band - Friday evening

Born out of the red clay hills of Tallahassee, Belle and The Band floats at the melodic intersection that connects folk, bluegrass, and acoustic jazz. In addition to Kathryn Belle’s soaring vocals and powerful songwriting, Kevin Robertson, Mickey Abraham, and Mike Snelling bring an instrumental prowess to the group as they deliver a musical cohesiveness that comes from creating music together for over 10 years.

Formed in 2011, Belle and The Band hosts some of Florida's most well recognized acoustic musicians. Kevin (acoustic guitar), Mickey (mandolin), and Mike (upright bass) have played together under many musical titles throughout the years, most notably Panhandle String Band, a highly regarded instrumental group who, at one time, played a string of shows and festivals with bluegrass icon Larry Rice. Members of Belle and The Band teach music and performing arts locally, write and teach for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, and play numerous local and regional festivals including The Florida Folk Festival, Suwannee Springfest, Magnolia Fest, Florida State Bluegrass Festival, Southern Music Rising, and Gamble Rogers Festival.

Kathryn Belle Long began her performance career when she left her home in Tallahassee to pursue musical theatre in NYC. It was there, in a tiny studio apartment on the Upper West Side, her brother gave her guitar and songwriting lessons. Kathryn's theatrical journey led her from performing in and around NYC, to being cast in shows at Walt Disney World and working as part of an Emmy Award winning cast two years in a row. Once back in Tallahassee, she teamed up with the guys to create music and Belle and The Band was born.

In 2013, Belle and The Band released their debut CD "Fallen Angel" on Ping Records, and is currently working on their second album which they hope to release in Fall of 2015.

Jamie DeFrates & Susan Brown - Friday evening

Jamie and Susan met 10 years ago and have been singing together on stage ever since.

Jamie DeFrates has long been a favorite of the music community. With a career spanning 4 decades, he’s received 2 Emmy Awards for documentary scores, the Georgia Songwriter’s Association “Songwriter of the Year Award” and has written music for numerous theme park rides around the world. Jamie's songwriting skills are legendary, his voice is spectacular and he is a wizard on the guitar.  Whenever he performs, the audience is absolutely spellbound.  When you listen to Jamie, you might think that it doesn't get any better, but you would be wrong.

Add his lovely partner Susan Haines Brown to the equation, and you are taken to a whole new dimension by two voices that soar to impossibly beautiful places and land right in the center of your heart. Susan’s beautiful voice and songs will capture your ear, your heart and your imagination. In 2013, Susan’s song “My Florida” won 2nd place at the Will McLean Folk Festival. It’s no surprise that their music continues to win awards and that their performances receive rave reviews. 

Jamie and Susan live in St. Augustine, Florida and love the area and the music community there.

Red and Chris and their All Star Band - Sunday evening

Red Henry, veteran bluegrass performer, felt the influence of musical giants at an early age. Beginning in the 1960s, he fell under the spell of such legendary greats as Bill Monroe, Gamble Rogers, and Chubby Anthony. Red never recovered! A magazine review once called Red “one of the most prolific interpreters of Monroe-style mandolin picking,” but Red also writes tunes which push bluegrass boundaries in a spectacular way.

Red's son Christopher has already achieved a great deal in his musical career. Chris began playing mandolin and guitar at age 11, and has now played professionally with several Nashville-based bands as well as leading his own group, Chris Henry and the Hard-Core Grass. He has been composing ever since he began playing. Four years ago he released his own mandolin CD- recorded in Nashville- entitled “Monroe Approved”, which was nominated for International Bluegrass Music Association "Instrumental Album of the Year" in 2008. His original song ‘Walkin' West to Memphis’ was nominated for IBMA "Song of the Year" in 2011. More recently he has been touring with bluegrass great Peter Rowan, and late last year he took his own band on a month-long tour of Australia.

 On stage at The Florida Folk Festival, Red and Chris are joined by Red's uncle John Hedgecoth, a long-time resident and banjo player in Nashville, and the irrepressible Barbara Johnson, "Florida's Favorite Bass Player." Red has released two of his own CDs, “Bluegrass Mandolin and Other Trouble” and “Helton Creek,” and Chris now has five CDs of original music to his credit. Three more great works are the father-and-son project “Bluegrass and Folk Music,” their bluegrass band CD “Centerville Road,” and their brand-new CD of old-time music, “Cold Frosty Morning.” All these albums received enthusiastic reviews in bluegrass trade publications. When you see Red and Chris and Their All-Star Band, be ready for high-energy music, humor, and a good time!

Mean Mary - Sunday evening

“Mean” Mary James, youngest of six children, was born in Geneva, Alabama, though her family lived in Florida, a couple miles below the Alabama line. She learned to read music before she could read words and was an official singer/songwriter before she’d started her first day of kindergarten.  With the help of her mom, she wrote her theme song “Mean Mary from Alabam’ and the name stuck. She recorded her first album at age six, and spent five hours a day on instrumental and vocal practice along with her live performances. Eventually, Mary and her brother Frank were sought after performers on the folk circuit. Upon relocating to Los Angeles with their family, they were heavily involved in television and movie productions everywhere they could find. Mary eventually found her way back east where she picked up her music career despite any obstacles in her way.

 Today she works on her TV show, produces music for herself and other artists, including her albums “Down Home,” ” Year of the Sparrow," and “Walk a Little Ways with Me." Mary also produces shows and videos, is co-writing a novel trilogy about the music world, is an endorsing artist for Deering Banjos, and is constantly touring.

Mary’s sound has been described as “Soulful vocals intertwined with clear harmonies and sparkling instrumentation”, and is well known for her fast banjo picking and beautiful story-telling. She’ll pick your spirit up and send it soaring through a world rich with characters. So don’t miss your chance to see just how ‘mean’ she can be, come listen to Mary and be blown away!

The New 76ers - Sunday evening

The New 76ers are an acoustic folk trio from North Florida, their sound comes from a collective respect for acoustic and electric music. Kelly Goddard, vocalist, plays rhythm guitar with her husband, Danny, who sings and plays lead guitar, and Kelly’s brother, Brian Durham, plays upright bass and sings as well. They rely on instinct and their family connection to meld vocals into harmonies and find their influences in deep-rooted Southern heritage. They describe their art   with a passion, saying “Our mission is to give love through our music and we believe that music is, and always will be, a force to compel change.”

The New 76ers have played many festivals throughout the Southern region including the Great Southern Music Festival, Bear Creek, Suwannee Springfest, The Tallahassee Museum’s Annual Swamp Stomp, Gamble Rogers Music Festival, and the Sarasota Folk Festival. They have released multiple recordings on Ping Records, such as “I Try to Sing Along”, the full-length “Superhighway”, “Demolition Man EP”, and their second full-length album,” In the Light”.

So take a listen and feel the connections they share through song, original music that aspires to move you physically and spiritually.

  

SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE

Jim StaffordSaturday and Sunday afternoons

Winter Haven native; Jim Stafford is a comedian, singer, songwriter, and entertainer extraordinaire. He wrote and recorded his first chart making song, “The Swamp Witch”, produced by his boyhood friend Kent LaVoie a.k.a Lobo in 1974. He followed with a gold single, “Spiders and Snakes”, which stayed on the American pop charts for 26 weeks. The hits just kept coming and included “My Girl Bill”, “Wildwood Weed”, and the wonderfully satirical “Cow Patti”, written for the Clint Eastwood movie, Any Which Way You Can, in which Jim appeared.

For over 20 years the Jim Stafford show is always named a favorite by audiences and critics alike. The singer, songwriter, comic genius, and entertainer extraordinaire is self-taught on guitar, fiddle, piano, banjo, organ, harmonica and the human brain--he might bring any of them into play at any moment. 417 Magazine, the Springfield News Leader and the Branson Entertainment Awards have voted Jim Best Entertainer, Best Personality and Best Comedy Show. Mayflower Tours has named Jim’s Show as one of their top ten suppliers in North America. Jim wrote many of the songs for which he is famous and has brought his inimitable style to several movie soundtracks. He received a gold record for his work in the Disney movie The Fox and The Hound and writes for many other popular artists.

Jim launched his television career with The Jim Stafford Show on ABC in 1975. His numerous television appearances included music specials, variety shows, and talk shows. He co-hosted the popular prime-time show Those Amazing Animals with Burgess Meredith and Pricilla Presley. Jim also hosted 56 episodes of Nashville on the Road and made 26 appearances on the Tonight Show. In 1987 & 1988, Jim was a regular performer and head write/producer for the Emmy-nominated Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Jim’s first love has always been live performance. During his show Jim combines hysterical comedy with masterful performances on the classical guitar as well as with heart-warming stories of the human spirit. Critically acclaimed as the “Victor Borge of the Guitar”, Jim creates hilarious antics from everyday life taking laughter to a new art form.  He’ll share his secrets for creating stage presence.