Jim Diamond born James Oren Boyington at Toronto General Hospital February 19, 1958 at 10:19 (two months premature, unattached from the umbilical cord). He has lived in many parts of Canada; Winnipeg, Kingston, Sault St. Marie, Clarkson, Park Royal, Lorne Park, Port Credit and Streetsville (all now rolled into Mississauga)
Canada native Jim Diamond - Boyington grew up in a musical family. There was always music being played in the house; live or on a record player. He was greatly influenced by his uncle Ken; who was steeped in the musical culture of the day, playing in bands and working as a session player in Toronto. He was larger than life! Jim's own personal musical god!
As a very young boy (3-5 years old) while living in Winnipeg, Manitoba . . . his mother remembered him always sitting in front of the TV on Saturday and Sunday watching and listening to the cartoons. She soon realized it wasn't the cartoons he was most interested in, it was the music! He loved the classical music played during the cartoons of the day. That's where is love for music began. He could be found banging away on his Dad's guitar, backward and upside down to the to the music of the day . . .
But it wasn't until the summer of 1970 (at 12) when he saw B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix on T.V. (separate shows) that he new that he wanted to play guitar! His first two records that year where: B.B. King - Paying the Cost to be Boss, and Jimi Hendrix - Are you Experienced. Other guitar heroes soon emerged: Terry Kath, Johnny Winter, Peter Green, T-Bone Walker, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Howlin' Wolf, Freddie King. Later influences were Canadians like Dutch Mason and Randy Bachman, along with Canadian blues bands; Downchild Blues Band (Donny Walsh) and The Powder Blues band (Tom Lavin), who had a huge effect on his writing and playing. Soon he was spending the allowance he earned on records, all types of music . . . blues, jazz, country and rock and roll!
Although left handed, his father put a right handed guitar in his hands and said, "Son, if you want to play . . . you need to play right handed because there will always be right handed guitars around. So you might as well learn right handed, it's easier than playing upside down and backwards!" Little did the young Jim Diamond know that one of his guitar heroes, Albert King played that exact way! He began playing his fathers guitar, a mid 60's Harmony acoustic. But he yearned for that wild new sound that Jimi Hendrix had! He wanted to go electric! . . . and he was soon borrowing friends guitars and amps to jam with.
He bought his first electric guitar from a pawnshop in Toronto on Queens Street at fifteen (1973), a 1959 Les Paul Jr. for $150. One afternoon while jamming, he set his guitar in a chair to take a call from a girl, and his guitar slid of the chair and broke! This was a guitar turning point for him . . . and his first taste of the blues. And he only bought one other Gibson a 1954 ES 225- TDN over the next 30 years. In fact, still today Stratocasters are his guitar of choice.
His first band was The Lavender Blue Band. They played their high school, community centers and parties. Two years later he severed a tendon of his left ring finger causing him to put down his guitar. Also, during this time of his life he was a highly touted amateur hockey player and was drafted in the Major Jr. A Ontario draft 0f 1976 35th out of 264. in a draft that had 3 - 4 thousand other eligible players pursuing a professional hockey career. In the end didn't quite pan out the way everyone thought. So began his dream of music . .
Then at age twenty-five, Diamond left Canada with the clothes on his back and moved to Michigan to attend Ferris State University. While attending school, he began to seek out the passion of his life. He began to attend open jams at local clubs, relearning to play, and to play with a handicap . . . using only three fingers on his left hand; due to an accident years before (THREE FINGER SHUFFFLE - ANGEL CHILD - 1997).
Then in 1989 Diamond moved to Cincinnati, OH where his lifelong love of the blues began to flower. Although handicapped by the use of his third finger, he found his muse and began to really play and begin to write. “The passion of the blues overwhelmed me”, he recalled. The first year he wrote thirty songs, including a rousing tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, “The King of the Blues.” (ANGEL CHILD - 1997).
By 1990, Diamond had formed The Groove Syndicate and was playing full-time, logging 190 shows his first year. By February 1999, he had played 1,000 shows. In 1995, Diamond met his last drummer and his life-long soul mate, his wife Beth. Together, they are the foundation of a formidable team. In 1996, Diamond moved to Franklin, KY., just north of “Music City” (Nashville, TN.), where he recorded his first album “ANGEL CHILD”. The record was recorded after the band had only been together for four months. His sophomore record, “SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW” was released in August 1999 and features Stevie Ray Vaughan standout on keys, Reese Wynans. They (Jim and Beth) went on to play all over the world from Franklin, KY with three different versions of The Groove Syndicate.
Together with his band; The Groove Syndicate they are an International blues recording, award winning (Kentuckianna Blues Society champ), top regional act based out of Bowling Green, KY (south central KY). They have been a featured act on KET's Jubilee. Additionally, they have played over 2,000 shows. They have played in Canada, Switzerland, Italy, England, Wales, and the United States.
They are an original act performing 90% original material. Their motto is; "Where blues is Swingin', Rockin', Jazzy, and always original!" The key to our success is our diversity in the blues. You never know what's next. Our current lineup (2017) is: Beth Diamond, Mark Wagner, Jon Pleasant, Chris Herndon, and Joe DiGiuseppe.
Norman Hewitt (d: 2018 R.I.P.)
Blues To Bop Switzerland Festival organizer said,
"When I saw them at the Chicago Blues Fest I asked them to play at our festival . . on the spot. They were so good, and very well received, we invited them back for a second year! The following year, only a handful of acts have been invited back two years in a row!" Norman has since passed and we are eternally grateful for his belief in us! R.I.P my brother!
Mike Kenney (former owner of Stevie Ray's Blues Bar in Louisville, KY says, "One of THE BEST acts we've had through our doors. Definitely one of Kentucky's top Blues acts!" Very professional, great show!
KP of Rock N Read Magazine (Nashville, TN) writes, " They are not your typical blues band . . . like, where you see three or four tunes and you've seen their entire show. With these cats at every turn there is a different theme or style, or a different featured player, that keeps the audience wanting more. They are one of the most engaging, entertaining blues acts on the planet!"
They have four CD's: ANGEL CHILD - 1997, SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW - 1999, & LIVE ALIVE - 2003 (all re-released in 2018) and their 4th; FRIENDS & FAMILY which is being released Nov 11, 2019.
On their second CD SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW; they have former Stevie Ray Vaughan standout - Reese Wynans (keys)! Reese plays on four songs. Not surprising, he plays his ass off!
They have recently re-released ANGEL CHILD and SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW! Also, we have finally released, the long awaited LIVE ALIVE! All of their CD's are for sale right here . . . along with other merchandise!
They have had the pleasure of playing a lot of fantastic venues and events over the years. Here is a list of some of the highlights . . .
SOME NOTABLE APPEARANCES:
Chicago Blues Fest
Blues to Bop - Lugano Switzerland
Blues to Bop - Marcoate Italy
Dayton Blues Festival - Dayton, OH
WC Handy Blues Festival - Henderson, KY
Crossroads Festival - Memphis, TN
IBC - Mamphis, TN
Winners of Kentuckianna Blues Society Competition Louisville Blues & Jazz Festival - Louisville, KY
Louisville Blues Festival - Louisville, KY
Strassenfest - Louisville, KY
Lebanaon Blues Fest - Lebanon, OH
Fibbers - London, England
Clinton Arms - Retford, UK
Millers Snooker Club - UK
Wrexham Rugby Club - Wales
Slippery Noodle - Indianapolis, IN
Bourbon St. Blues and Boogie - Nashville, TN
Stevie Rays - Louisville, TN
NEA Extravaganza - Nashville, TN
Third and Lindsley - Nashville, TN
Rum Boogie - Memphis, TN
Hard Rock Cafe - Memphis, TN
Mansion Hill Tavern - Newport, KY
Donahues - Springfield, OH
The Trolley Stop - Dayton, OH
The Door - Celina, OH
Metropolis Blues Fest - Metropolis, IL
Freddie King, Albert King, B.B. King, Ronnie Earl, Johnny Winter, SRV, Albert Collins, Snooks Eaglin, Duke Robilard, Luther Allison, Donny Walsh, Tom Lavin and many, many more . . . And a couple of my good friends; Wendell Holmes (The Holmes Brothers - Alligator Records - R.I.P), Eddie Shaw, Stacy Mitchhart, and Sonny Mooreman.... who all continue to inspire me even if from afar!!
Jim's Equipment List
Using vintage Fender and Gibson guitars, G & L, Reverend, and some BigTone Custom guitars all played through vintage Traynor and Fender amplifiers.
All amplifiers loaded with the world's greatest speakers - EMINENCE SPEAKERS (Eminence, KY). With whom Jim Diamond prouldly endorses. Thanks to Chris Rose for believing in our sound.