Annual Steel Guitar
Convention Cruise

Featured Players, Vendors & Activities

Jim Cohen

Jim started playing acoustic guitar at age 12, inspired by the British Invasion. By high school, his tastes ran to country/rock music such as Buffalo Springfield, Poco, New Riders of the Purple Sage, etc. Through this music, Jim became exposed to, and fell hopelessly in love with, the sound of the pedal steel guitar which has led him into a wide range of music including country, rock, pop and jazz.

In 1970, Jim moved to St. Louis, MO to attend college at Washington University, and somehow stumbled into the late DeWitt Scott (“Scotty”), who became Jim’s first steel guitar teacher and sold him his first steel guitar. While in college, Jim played steel for a country-rock band called “Whitehorse”. Among other places, they used to play regularly at Chuck Berry’s private club on his home grounds in Wentzville, MO.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Jim continued working in a variety of jazz, country and swing bands in Missouri, Florida and Pennsylvania. During that time, he was fortunate to have the opportunity to study steel guitar with many of the world’s finest players, including Buddy Emmons, Jeff Newman, Paul Franklin, Maurice Anderson, Bobby Black, Winnie Winston, and others.

In 1994, influenced by hearing a Junior Brown concert while on a visit to Austin, Jim decided to form his own western swing band, Beats Walkin’. That group remains together to this date and performs widely around the Philadelphia, PA area. Their debut album, ‘Western Omelette’ was released in 1997 and their second CD, a live recording entitled ‘Bop-a-billy Swing!’, was to critical acclaim in 2002.

In addition, Jim has recorded 5 highly-regarded solo steel guitar CDs, spanning country, pop, ‘60s British rock, and straight-ahead jazz.

In recent years, Jim has been much in demand for recording sessions around the Philadelphia area, and as a solo performer at numerous steel guitar shows around the country and in Europe where he continues to thrill audiences with his unique style and arrangements of jazz, pop and classic rock tunes. Most recently he began touring as steel guitarist for the show “Sophisticated Lady: The Complete Linda Ronstadt Experience”. Look for them at a theater near you.