Featured Olson Artist:
Jim Cole

About Jim Cole

Jim Olson has long considered Jim Cole among his very favorite musicians. No, it's not because of Cole's first name; and Jim's (Olson's, that is) appreciation of Jim's (Cole's, that is) music dates to well before Cole became an Olson player. Cole simply is that good, combining great talent with a great heart and a great message.

Jim Cole has a singing, playing, and writing style that immediately evokes comparisons with James Taylor (yet another "James" to confuse you!). But Cole's music more explicitly pays tribute to Cole's Christian spirituality in its lyrical content. Any fan of good acoustic folk-pop will appreciate his work, but listeners who are additionally fans of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) will likely find his style irresistable.

Cole first began sharing his songs with others in the mid 1970s, beginning with the members of the church he was pastoring at that time. Eventually, Jim realized he was reaching and touching more people as a musician than as a pastor, and he began a career as a full-time musician. He currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and tours nationally.

Mutual Admiration

Cole's recent recording, Leap of Faith, reveals him to be as big a fan of Olson's artistry as Olson is of Cole's. Cole uses two Olson SJs on this project, one with a cedar top and the other with a Sitka spruce top. These instruments are prominently featured, not only in the music, but also throughout the CD's artwork; a few examples appear here. His web site at JimColeOnline.com also features a page describing his guitars and his amplification gear.

Here's what you'll find pictured on Cole's Leap of Faith CD—and then what you'll find under it, on the tray card!


You'll find many soundbites giving you a taste of Cole's music at his web site. We've taken the liberty of providing a few soundbites here as well that especially feature Cole's Olson. These are high bitrate MP3 files (to keep the sound near CD quality); to hear them you'll have to download the files to your hard drive and play them with your favorite MP3 file player. Free and low-cost players are available for all major platforms; we provide some pointers at the beginning of our Soundbites page. Enjoy!

"Be Thou My Vision" (01:32 - 1.7MB)
This is Jim's take on a much-loved hymn; we chose to feature it here in part because of its instrumental introduction featuring Jim's lovely fingerpicking—and his Olson! The tune for this hymn is also one of the webmaster's all-time favorite folk melodies. You may recognize the tune from other hymns ("Lord of all hopefulness" and "Make us true servants"), or as the melody of the traditional Irish ballad, "The banks of the Bann." The pace picks up considerably after the fingerpicked intro!  

"Deep as the Ocean Blue" (00:40 - 0.8MB)
A Cole original (cowritten with Kelly Willard) displaying the JT influence.  

"Castaway" (00:59 - 1.1MB)
Cole's wonderful cover of a great song penned by the late Mark Heard.

If you like what you hear, drop by JimColeOnline.com and order a Jim Cole CD for yourself!