Community Concert Association season hitting final note with accomplished pianist
Posted: Monday, April 19, 2010 9:08 pm
Whether it is his country music, contemporary Christian or the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, Jim Witter’s versatility as an artist has allowed him the opportunity to reach out and share his music and his infectious personality with audiences of all ages across Canada and the United States.
He will have that opportunity in Obion County Thursday when the Community Concert Association of Union City/Obion County brings Witter to the Union City Civic Auditorium Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for a repeat performance.
Individual tickets will be available to non-members prior to the beginning of the show for the association’s last concert of the 2009-10 series.
Witter’s unique approach and comfortable rapport makes each member of his audience feel as though they are a part of a private concert in the comfort of their own living room, a spokesman said. This, along with his rich, powerful voice and ease of manner at the piano, makes him a favorite with theater goers everywhere.
It all started at a very early age, as Witter began performing in the comfort of his own living room. His mother would play piano and he would belt out the hits, everything from the Beatles to Broadway musicals. All through his school years, Witter knew that he was destined to have a career in the music business.
“I never really thought of doing anything else and neither did my parents because they always encouraged me to follow my dream,” he said.
And follow it he did.
Witter paid his dues, playing in the clubs and bars around Southern Ontario for years. He would write songs and record demos during the day and play in the clubs at night to pay the bills.
Witter met his wife, Rebecca, in 1985. Together, they worked tirelessly to promote his talent and music in hopes that one day their efforts would be recognized. Finally in 1990, one of Witter’s demos came to the attention of a Sony Music Canada executive, which really got his recording career rolling. A record deal with a smaller independent label in Canada soon gave way to a multi-record deal with Curb Records of Nashville, home of Tim McGraw, Leanne Rimes and Wynonna Judd. From his first self-titled record, to “All My Life” and “Forgiveness,” Witter has had 10 top 10 radio hits in Canada, seven hit videos on CMT and impressive chart action in the U.S. on Billboard and R&R.
His music and songwriting have been recognized on both sides of the border, earning him multiple awards and nominations from the Canadian Country Music Association, the Juno Awards and, in 2004, the Dove Awards in Nashville, where Witter’s album “Forgiveness” was nominated for Inspirational Album of the year.
“Songwriting has always been a real love of mine,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with so many incredible song-writers over the past years, like Steve Wariner for instance. Not only have the collaborations produced songs that I am very proud of, but I have gained an invaluable education and created lifelong friendships along the way.”
A few years ago, Witter came up with the concept for the show “The Piano Men,” a musical journey through the ’70s featuring the songs of Billy Joel and Elton John.
“I was always a big fan of acoustic music-especially the folk of the ’70s: James Taylor and Harry Chapin,” Witter said, adding his real mentors were Billy Joel and Elton John.
This multi-media rock musical has turned out to be a hit, receiving rave reviews from music critics all across North America. There are even plans to take the show overseas to London and Japan in the near future.
Witter still lives in Southern Ontario with his wife and their four children — James, Roslyn, Ryan and Luke. A devoted family man, he is also very active in his community, supporting numerous charities and organizations, especially those which benefit children and their families.
“All I’ve ever wanted from this business is to be able to support my family and to make people feel a little better when they hear my music. To help them forget about their troubles for a while and enjoy the moment. If I can continue doing this five, 10, 15 years down the road, I’ll be perfectly happy,” he said.
Published in The Messenger 4.19.10