Traditional Music >>
Jim Sutherland comes from Thurso in the far north of Scotland where, at the age of fourteen or fifteen, he was playing in a band called Na Abachan. One of the band members played bouzouki, so Jim bought himself one from the local saleroom. Another band member, Andy Corsie, encouraged Jim to play the bodhran, and in fact Andy invented the tensioning system now widely used by bodhran makers.
Jim had been also playing the double bass in the local fiddlers' society, where he met Ian Sinclair of Mirk. When he started playing the odd gig with them he got his first first Sobell Cittern; at that time the mandolin he had was a cheap Japanese copy of a Gibson F model.
At 21 Jim moved down to Edinburgh and shared a flat with Gary Peterson (who plays mandolin and banjo with the Shetland band Home Bru). The competition between the pair of them encouraged them to dizzy heights.At this time Jim was writing prolifically and playing in all the folk sessions in Edinburgh - he just couldn't get enough! After meeting Jack Evans, Rod Paterson and Norman Chalmers they formed the innovative The Easy Club, recording three albums.
Since The Easy Club called it a day Jim has been mostly based in his recording studio writing and producing music. Jim's producing credits range from The Boys of the Lough and Shooglenifty to Kathryn Tickell and Shine. He has made odd forays such us when he worked with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Part of his job was to learn Page's mandolin parts, freeing him to play guitar. This expedition inspired him to buy a new Sobell mandolin "...which I love. It's so bright and has a lovely balanced sound with a great sustain."
Jim still plays the mandolin, mainly for his own entertainment and occasionally if he's working on a film or a record production that suits instrument. Does he listen to other mandolinists? "I really enjoy Ian Macleod of Shooglenifty on the mandolin he has such a driving energetic style, no wonder folk want to dance. I produce the Shooglenifty albums and almost feel like part of the band, we've worked together now for ten years on three albums."
For more general information about Jim's varied activities, visit his website (URL below).