At 31, fiddler Jim Van Cleve has already achieved more than many musicians do in a lifetime, and with the release of his solo debut, No Apologies, the dynamic youngster has taken a bold step forward. Producing, arranging, performing, and sharing in the writing credits for more than half of the CD's eleven selections, Jim has created a collection of unusual depth and breadth that can only enhance his reputation as one of the leading musicians of his generation.
“No Apologies”, his amazing solo effort was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year, garnering a 2006 Grammy Nomination, an IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year Nomination for 2007, and taking "Album of the Year" honors in the Folk Music category of the Indie Acoustic Awards. It was also included in the Top 10 Best Albums Lists in The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, The Washington Times, USA Today and CMT. The project boasts an impressive total of 3 charting singles, with the first single holding down the Top Spot for an amazing 3 months. Following the success of his album, Jim was nominated as IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year.
As one of the most in-demand top-call session musicians in Nashville, Jim has played on countless recordings over his impressive career to date. He played a prominent role as fiddler on the 2004 Country Album of the Year Livin', Lovin', Losin': The Songs Of The Louvin Brothers, garnering him his first Grammy. He also recorded fiddle for a smash-hit single drawn from American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts (2005)-his first participation in a multi-platinum seller where he was prominently featured on the Billboard Magazine #1 hit single “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”. Jim was also featured along with the other members of Mountain Heart on the recording “Strumming With The devil” (with David Lee Roth of Van Halen fame). In early 2009 Jim was asked to write an instrumental track for the new studio project by the rising star Sierra Hull. This marks the second song he has written for her that was recorded.
In addition to his session work Jim is also an in demand producer. Recent projects have included his solo effort, Mountain Heart’s “Live “ CD, the latest project from rising group Newfound Road, both of the releases by the IBMA award nominated group Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain, the super-group Mashville brigade and the instrumental “Pickin on Taylor Swift”.
As one of the original members of Mountain Heart, Jim has become legendary for the intense energy, charisma, and dazzling musicianship he brings to the stage. In his impressive career Jim has recorded and/or performed with legendary artists like Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Doc Watson, Glen Campbell, Tony Rice, Carrie Underwood, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush and many, many more.