Jim Stephanson is one of the most highly regarded vocalists/guitarists in the Washington DC roots music scene. In 2002, the Washington Post stated, “Washington DC can lay claim to a heritage of great electric guitar players and Jim Stephanson is part of that legacy”.
The DC scene of the late 70’s and early 80’s was vibrant with several exceptional blues and rockabilly bands. Jim began leading a series of bands which eventually culminated into Jimmy and the Blue Dogs, a highly respected DC R&B roots band. You can hear him with the Blue Dogs on a number of compilations put out by the label Hungry for Music. Jim can also be heard working with Tom Mitchell, former guitarist of Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks in The Blue Rhythm Boys, winner of the 2003 WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Awards) for Best Blues Recording. Blending the blues of Mississippi John Hurt with the “hot club” swing of Django Reinhardt, The Blue Rhythm Boys have delighted audiences with their tight vocals and hot guitar playing since 1999.
In addition, you can catch Jim playing with Chick Hall Jr. in the Country Swing Quartet, Hillbilly Jazz. The dynamic twin guitar arrangements pay homage to guitar legends Hank Garland, Jimmy Bryant, Roy Lanham, George Barnes, and Les Paul. Last but not least Jim’s reputation has landed him work supporting a variety of artists; including, Big Joe and the Dynaflows, Chris Gaffney, The J Street Jumpers (The Uptown Rhythm Kings), The Brooks Tegler Big Band, Billy Hancock, Steve Wolf and SwingSpeak, Eric Brace and Last Train Home, Karl Straub, Dave Kitchen and many others. Jim is very excited to be releasing his first solo album of original material, in which he is backed by members of the legendary rock band NRBQ.
A guitarist of great renown, a singer of soulful bearing, and a songwriter with a keen ear for melody, swing, and wallop, Say Go is remarkably, his first album under his own name. From the Everly Brothers lilt of “You Won’t Ever Fall in Love Again” to the midnight honky-tonk of “How About Now,” Say Go sounds like an album you’ve lived with your whole life. “Before You Know” mixes melodic sophistication with a luxurious arrangement that evokes The Beatles without a hint of retro leanings; it’s a glorious twenty-first century song. There are confident grooves, supple rhythms, hypnotically barbed solos, and resonant vocals throughout. Washington, DC’s musical treasure will no longer be a secret to the rest of the world.
NRBQ fans take note: Say Go was co-produced by Terry Adams who also plays piano, clavinet, and organ. The rhythm section on the entire disc is the incomparable team of Tom Ardolino and Joey Spampinato (who also contributes harmony vocals). Original Q guitarist, the late Steve Ferguson, solos on “Make a Lot of Noise” in what turned out to be his last recording session.