Site hosted by Build your free website today! Online Interview: Jim Tozier - July 10, 2005

An exclusive online interview with

Presented by:
Southern Maryland Music Online
July 10, 2005

Enjoy the interview, and what Jim had say!

SMMO: Describe your music to someone who has never heard your music before

JIM: I’m a solo fingerstyle guitarist; all of my music is instrumental. I play a combination of traditional Celtic music and my own original compositions. I focus on beautiful melodies and playful grooves, so the music appeals to listeners of all ages.

SMMO: What's better, stage or studio?

JIM: Well, I can tell you that the stage is a whole lot more fun. I enjoy connecting to an audience through music, and on stage the results are immediate and personal. Of course I like recording in the studio, too, but it’s a totally different feel than performing live.

SMMO: How often, and how long do you rehearse?

JIM: In general, I don’t truly “rehearse” in the traditional sense. I don’t sit around and force myself to practice working on techniques or scales. I’ll brush up on material before performing, but most of my “practice” time is spent working out new arrangements or writing new material.

SMMO: Do you promote more on the internet, or by "word-of-mouth"?

JIM: For a solo instrumentalist, it’s especially important to promote as much as possible, in as many different ways as you can. The internet certainly makes it much easier to spread the word about your music, but the best promotion always comes by word-of-mouth, from people who’ve heard your music and enjoyed it.

SMMO: What can your band offer the Southern Maryland audiences that other bands or artists don't?

JIM: I think the biggest difference between my music and the typical “band” is the atmosphere. A solo instrumental guitarist is going to create a completely different feel than a full band with vocals. It’s generally going to be much more laid-back and relaxed, and certainly won’t be as loud. It’s very melodic, too, so it tends to be rather easy to listen to—it appeals to a wider range of listeners, and it’s not going to offend anyone. It’s music that the whole family can listen to together.

SMMO: What styles or musicians most influence your music?

JIM: Obviously, Celtic music—especially traditional Irish music—is a big influence on what I do. There are also elements of folk, blues, and classical. Some people refer to this type of instrumental guitar music as “new age,” but I think that label tends to conjure up thoughts of “mood music.” I like to think that what I do is more melodic and more musical than what most people think of as “new age” music.

As far as other guitarists who’ve been influential, Al Petteway would have to be the main guy. It was Al’s playing that first awakened me to the possibilities for playing Celtic music on guitar. Other guitarists who’ve had an impact on my playing style would be Michael Hedges, El McMeen, Steve Baughman, and Pierre Bensusan.

SMMO: How can audiences find out more about you, do you have a website?

JIM: I sure do: Visitors can check the shcedule for upcoming performances, sample music (and buy CDs!), read reviews, and keep up with the latest news.

SMMO: Most encouraging moment as a musician, most discouraging moment

JIM: There are lots of encouraging moments, and thankfully, not too many that are discouraging. Signing a contract with Solid Air Records was probably the most encouraging moment for me, because it is such an honor to be included along with the other talented guitarists on the label.

SMMO: Do you perform original songs or cover songs, or both?

JIM: I guess I’d have to answer “both” . . . although I certainly don’t do typical “cover” songs. Most people aren’t really that familiar with traditional Celtic music, so it may be hard to distinguish the originals from the covers without my introduction to the songs. Most of the time it’s easier to say that I don’t do covers, because then people will expect me to play stuff they hear on the radio.

SMMO: What is your secret method of providing the best show possible for the audience?

JIM: Well, it’s not really a secret . . . but I think it’s especially important to develop some rapport with the audience. When performing instrumental music, the best opportunity to interact with the audience is in between songs, when I introduce the next piece. There are stories behind most of the songs, and I try to get that across in an interesting and sometimes humorous way. Obviously, you’ve got to play good music, but it’s also vital to establish some sort of personality to go along with it—otherwise, people might as well stay at home and listen to the CDs.

SMMO: What's your favorite venue to perform at in Southern Maryland, and why?

JIM: Each venue has its attractions, but the two I’ve enjoyed the most in Southern Maryland are the Celtic Festival and the Calvert Library. The Celtic Festival is just a neat atmosphere, and I like being surrounded my all that great music. The Library has been great, because the audience is always attentive and they do such a good job of promoting their events.

SMMO: Do you have a CD available, and how can we get a copy?

JIM: I currently have three CDs: “Castlerea,” which was independently released in 2003, and two new recordings, “Solo Guitar” and “Celtic Guitar,” which were both released this year by Solid Air Records. CDs are available through my website, through Acoustic Music Resource (, and through various online retailers, including

SMMO: What goals have you set for the future?

JIM: I’m currently working on a book of sheet music for my “Celtic Guitar” CD, which should be published later this year. After that, I’ll be arranging and writing material for my next two CDs. I also hope to do a couple of mini-tours next summer.

SMMO: Have you received any radio/TV airplay?

JIM: It’s not easy for an instrumental guitarist to get airplay on any sort of regular basis, but my music has been featured on several radio programs. Locally, I’ve been on WETA’s (90.9 FM) “Traditions” program, hosted by Mary Cliff. I’ve also been on programs in California (KVMR 89.5) and Canada (CKJS 810 AM, and CJTR 91.3 FM).

SMMO: What is your favorite thing about being a musician?

JIM: I love the way that music can bring people together; I’ve made so many friends through playing music, and met so many interesting people. I like the travel, too. Being a performing musician has given me an excuse to visit places that I might not have seen otherwise.

Title: Trinity
Album: Castlerea ©2005
Artist: Jim Tozier

Well, there you have it folks!
Be sure to look for Jim Tozier at local music
venues near you... and go see him perform!

Dont forget to visit Jim's website:

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