Jim VanCleve, born October 12, 1978 in Canton, North Carolina is an American fiddle player, songwriter, session musician, and producer. He is a founding member of the popular band Mountain Heart, and a Grammy winning session musician and Grammy nominated solo artist.
VanCleve won many fiddle contests as a youth. While still in high school, VanCleve became a member of Ric-o-chet and Lou Reid and Carolina, prominent bands in the national bluegrass scene at the time.
In 1997, bluegrass and gospel legend Doyle Lawson invited VanCleve to join his group, Quicksilver. VanCleve left college (UNC-Greensboro) to become the band's new fiddle player.
In 1998, banjo player Barry Abernathy, singer/guitarist Steve Gulley, and Grammy-winning mandolinist (formerly of Alison Krauss and Union Station) Adam Steffey began plans to form a band. VanCleve came on board and the band Mountain Heart was formed. VanCleve has played a major role in the success and popularity of the band, as well as a driving force in creating more complex musical arrangements.
Jim has become highly regarded and much sought after both as a session musician and as a record producer in the worlds of Country and Americana music. VanCleve has quickly built a broad-ranging and artistically acclaimed body of production work. A partial list of projects VanCleve has produced:
- Mountain Heart - That Just Happened (Earned a 4 Star Review from COUNTRY MUSIC WEEKLY magazine in 2011)
- Jim VanCleve - No Apologies (Grammy Nominated, Indie Roots Americana Album of the Year)
- At the Speed of Bluegrass - Bluegrass Blog Theme (Commissioned Theme Song for the world's most heavily traveled Acoustic Music Website)
- IBMA Awards Show Theme Song - (Commissioned Theme for the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show)
- Darrell Webb Band - Breaking Down the Barriers (Contained two #1 songs on Bluegrass Radio)
- Darrell Webb - Dream Big (Contained three #1 songs on Bluegrass Radio)
- Shotgun Holler - Loaded
- Annabelle Road - Won Detroit Free Press Country project/band of the year
- Cindy G - Moonshiner's Daughter
- Cindy G - Jailbreak
- Campbell Davis - Howl at the Moon (Semi-Finalist on The Voice)
- The Fiddleheads - Goodbye L.A. (Finalists on America's Got Talent)
- Mountain Heart - Road That Never Ends
- Monroeville - Monroeville
- Ben & Rose - Self Titled
- Del Shields - Let the Cowboy Sing (Host of Best of America by Horseback, a top rated television show on the RFD Network)
- NewFound Road - Same Old Place
- Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain - CHHR 2
- Acoustic Evolution - Bluegrass Goes Back to the Future (Exclusive Americana Compilation for BORDERS BOOKS and MUSIC)
- Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain - Self Titled
- Mashville Brigade - Smash Hits of Bluegrass, Vol. 1
- Tribute to Taylor Swift - Pickin' on Taylor Swift - CMH
- Clay Jones - Mountain Tradition
- On May 9, 2006, VanCleve released his first solo recording, No Apologies. The album won rave reviews and an uncommon amount of press attention.
The awards nominations for "No Apologies" were many. The lead track, "Nature of the Beast", was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006 for "Best Country Instrumental Performance". The first single from the album, Let The Big Dog Eat, was the No. 1 Song in Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine for three months. The album topped out at number 5 in the Billboard Bluegrass Sales chart. The project won "Album of the Year" in the Folk category of the Indie Awards. The album was nominated for "Instrumental Project of the Year" in 2007 at the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards. Jim was also nominated for "Fiddle Player of the Year" in 2007 for his work on "No Apologies", and the many other recordings he played a part in that year.
- In 2008, VanCleve was recruited to write and record a new Awards Show Theme Song by the IBMA (an honor previously held by the 12-time Grammy winner, Jerry Douglas, and Nashville recording legend, Mark O'Connor before him). The new theme song, "Road From Rosine" was debuted at the 2007 IBMA Awards Show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
Jim was recruited to write an instrumental track for a studio project by Sierra Hull, the young mandolin and vocal prodigy seen on television, either sitting in with Alison Krauss, or as an actress in the new Billy Graham movie. Ron Block (of Alison Krauss and Union Station), and Sierra produced her debut solo project and commissioned Jim to write the song, which eventually was entitled SMASHVILLE. Sierra's album, Secrets, is now available on Rounder Records.
International Bluegrass Music Association
- 2006 Album of the Year: Celebration of Life: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer, featuring 3 Fox Drive, Lonesome River Band, The Seldom Scene, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Cherryholmes, J.D. Crowe & The New South, BlueRidge, IIIrd Tyme Out, The James King Band, Larry Cordle, Wayne Benson, Clay Hess, Greg Luck, Aubrey Haynie, Marty Raybon & Full Circle, Tony Rice, Ronnie Bowman & The Committee, The Larry Stephenson Band, Blue Highway, Gena Britt, Randy Kohrs & The Lites, Steve Thomas, Scott Vestal, David Parmley & Continental Divide, Karl Shiflett & the Big Country Show, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Wildfire, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Lost & Found, The Grascals, Alecia Nugent, Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, Don Rigsby & Midnight Call, Bradley Walker, Dan Tyminski, Bela Fleck, Barry Bales, Joe Mullins, Bryan Sutton, Jim VanCleve, Clay Jones & Keith Garrett
- 2012 Recorded Event of the Year: Carl Jackson, Ronnie Bowman, Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley, Rickey Wasson, Randy Kohrs, D.A. Adkins, Garnet Bowman, Lynn Butler, Ashley Kohrs, Gary Payne, Dale Pyatt, Clay Hess, Alan Bibey, Jay Weaver, Ron Stewart & Jim VanCleve for "Life Goes On"
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Mountain Heart Home Page