Highway 65, the road to fame and fortune in Nashville, Tennessee, seemed liked a likely spot to conduct an interview of country and western singer Jim Banke In the months that led to the recording of Jims second album, Strong As I Am, I developed an appreciation for not only Jims voice and songwriting talents but also his sensibilities regarding music and life in general. So in returning from the Nashville recording sessions, I asked Jim to take the wheel and talk about his life, his passions and, oh, yes
Jim proudly points out that his first release Miles From Here garnered Country Album of the Year recognition at the Chicago Music Awards. Jim loves songwriting and insists that, if a song affects one person it was worth writing. Jim says he loves to sing because it, lets you release your innermost feelings. Jims sincerity comes through on Strong As I Am, featuring Jims signature voice, strong songs and top notch players including members of The Garth Brooks Band, Neil Diamond and StikMen. The project was recorded in Nashville and Chicago and remixed in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Young Heroes Music enlisted Grammy Award winning engineer Alan Schulman (Jimmy Buffet, Ricky Skaggs, The Wikensons) to handle the production chores. The CD contains an updated version of the Monkees hit Im A Believer, penned by Neil Diamond. Jim reached new heights during the recording of the CD. It was a humbling experience to be surrounded by the players that I hear on the radio every day, said Banke. Never before have I been involved in something like this. I was blessed to work with these musicians. The determination and passion Jim demonstrates through his pursuits in racing and music are consistent. In Strong As I Am Jim writes and sings, Id change the world if I could, but Im not Superman, but my experience with Jim says there is not much he cant accomplish once he sets his mind to it.
Young Heroes is proud of our association with Jim and we believe this effort will bring him a larger audience and increased radio play, said Kevin Paul, president of Young Heroes Music We know Jim is ready for that level of success.Young Heroes Music also represents StikMen, Brady Burton, North American Musicast and Thrillbilly.
About the Artist
Jim had his days with rock and roll bands Stand Off and Fugitive. Jim enjoyed the success he had with Fugitive opening up for The Cult, Molly Hatchett and Enough ZNuff and being voted the most requested band for Chicago Rocker magazine. Jim states his early years made him see, how good and bad the music business can be. Jim knew that he, never wanted to be a rock star, saying it is a tough road. That message came home when Jim witnessed a headliner being rushed to the hospital to treat his bronchitis once he finished singing. Somehow, after nearly twelve years on the rock circuit, the loss of Fugitives bass player spurred Jim to delve into country and western.After some ribbing from friends Jim learned that he loved the genre. Jim said, The songs told a story and the people could understand the words I was singing. I knew the music came from the heart and there were no Marshall stacks to contend with.Jim studied the radio, listening to Garth Brooks, Ricky Van Shelton, Alan Jackson and the one singer he most connected with, George Strait. While Jim started working on his own songs, finishing a two-song demo, it took some time before he finished Miles From Here. During that stretch Jim performed Karoke and acoustic shows at benefits, weddings and homeless shelters. Jim is also an avid drag racer and a fixture on Midwestern tracks. Jim got the bug as a teen when his older brother drove him to school in a 68 Chevy Camaro. Jims first ride was a 1971 Oldsmobile Toronado but he quickly moved up to a Plymouth Road Runner. He continued to buy and sell until he upgraded to his own 68 midnight blue Camaro.Jim admits his youth was rife with illegal street racing but he built his current car with the intent of growing up and doing the right thing. Jim says he is still learning but feels he is getting closer to his goal of moving up in class as a racer. Its a rush of pure adrenaline
no speed limit, states Jim, who has clocked speeds of 135 and turns a quarter mile in 10:09 seconds in his car. He looks forward to building his next car and ending up in the ProStock ranks. Drag racers are the best people on earth, Jim maintains. Final round
two guys left and one guy will go get a part to help his opponent get off the line. Jim agrees that its tough work. The long weekend begins on Friday; loading the trailer, driving to the track and sleeping wherever its convenient. After setting up shop in the trailer, Saturday opens up with checking out the car, passing the technical inspection for safety and getting in two qualifying rounds to see how the car will run. Racing starts at 1PM on Sunday with each driver predicting how fast his car will complete its runs. Between rounds its back to the pits for cool down, a change of battery and fluids and topping off the tank. Jim says it takes a clear head to, cut a light, referring to the 5/100ths of a second required to launch the car without finishing the race under your predicted time. Jim asserts you, dont wait til you see green. Jim acknowledges that, Speed is an addiction. You just want to go faster. Its a legal drug, and that he, loves the smell of drag racing
116 octane gas and burnin rubber.Racing gives Jim a captive audience each and every Sunday during the season to watch his exploits on the track and listen to his tunes blast from the PA. Quite a launching pad for a successful music career, I believe