Jim Photoglo talks new album 'Halls of My Heart' and songwriting Special

Posted Aug 6, 2014 by Markos Papadatos
Grammy-nominated musician Jim Photoglo talks about his newest studio album "Halls of My Heart," songwriting and having his songs cut by some of the biggest names in country.
Singer-songwriter Jim Photoglo
Singer-songwriter Jim Photoglo
Courtesy of Jim Photoglo
"When I began the recording process, I had only four songs completely written: 'Try Me Tomorrow,' 'Shadow And Light,' 'Brown-Eyed Boy,' and 'Something Of Me,'" Photoglo said. "Since I was working alone in my studio, as engineer, musician and vocalist, this was a very long process. As I worked on the four existing songs, ideas for new songs began to arise. The ideas were personal, and I didn't feel that bringing in a co-writer, as I typically do, was appropriate."
He continued, "When I write with another writer, a third personality is born: the song, born of two perspectives and their experiences. The new song ideas were coming in strong and fully-formed, and a theme emerged: I was taking stock of my life and was about to turn 60. After completing the songs 'Halls Of My Heart,' 'Brothers Medley,' 'Lilliana,' 'My Father's Son,' and 'The Hours,' I felt drained of ideas. I remembered a song that I'd written with my good friend Gary Burr, my co-writer on 'Try Me Tomorrow' and 'Something Of Me.' About the time of the Wall Street meltdown, I'd had the idea for a song called 'What Do I Tell My Son?' For some reason, we decided to make it about a father and son and not necessarily based on our experiences. But the theme of the song was very real to me. So, I went back to Gary and explained that although I love the message of the song, relationship of the father and his father in the song didn't ring true for me. I suggested the changes that resulted in the version that is on my album, and the picture seemed complete."
Photoglo's previous album garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album, which was quite flattering. "That's as big as it gets and something that occurs in your dreams. Like so many of my peers, I watched the Grammy Awards every year from the time I was a kid and always imagined someday it might be me up there and what I might say as I accepted my award. So, to see the nomination in print, there are no words," he said.
Throughout his career, his songs have been cut by some of the biggest name in country. "It's pretty exciting having someone famous choosing your song to share with their audience. Garth Brooks recorded and released 'Fishin' In The Dark' because he was a fan of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's record. That's mind blowing! It was heartwarming watching Faith Hill, who I knew when she was just starting out, become a success and then to be part of her biggest album, Faith. It kind of felt like I was in the stands watching my school team win, when I was part of Travis Tritt's debut album or John Anderson's comeback. I can't describe how it felt to write a song with Michael McDonald, then hear it on the radio and see it in a movie. Yeah, life's been good," he said.
In the past, two of his songs went to No. 1 such as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Fishin' in the Dark" and Alabama's "Hometown Honeymoon." ''Watching 'Fishin' In The Dark' go from paper and cassette to being one of the most-performed songs in the history of country music is pretty hard to wrap your head around. Again, the stuff dreams are made of. Then having 'Hometown Honeymoon' go No. 1 while I was on my honeymoon. I mean, it's kinda like watching a movie, isn't it? Unreal," he said.
His future plans include touring to promote Halls Of My Heart. "I also plan to continue working with other musicians and songwriters, whether it's as part of a songwriter's night or as a backup singer and musician (as I've done recently with Carole King). I love singing harmony and playing bass, as well as singing solo with an acoustic guitar," he said.
For more information on Jim Photoglo and his latest CD, visit his official website.