Jim Conway – Harmonica

Renowned blues musician Jim Conway is an extremely adept harmonica player. His unique style is familiar to blues fans as well as jazz and country music listeners.

Jim’s storied career featured Australia-wide tours with US blues performer Brownie McGhee, The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, The Backsliders, Jim Conway’s Big Wheel and even Circus Oz.

Musical History

Mr Conway played with the Conway Brother’s Hiccups Orchestra during the mid 1980’s. They toured Great Britain, playing at festivals including Edinburgh, Capitol Music Festival and Newcastle. In 1988, the Conway Brothers performed at more big festivals: Houston International, World Expo and Perth.

Jim teamed up with the Backsliders towards the end of 1988, touring across Australia at festivals including Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Womad, East Coast Blues and Gold Coast’s Jazz and Blues Festival.

Jim quit the Backsliders in 2006 to concentrate on his own project band, Jim Conway’s Big Wheel. The Aussie group were already an established force on the Australian music scene since they began recording and doing gigs in 2002.

While departing from the Backsliders was a big call for Jim, after almost 20 years, it also led to new musical relationships. The Brewster Brothers, who were the driving force behind hits of the Angels, were a notable music collab for Jim.

Arts Contributions and Recognition

As a session musician, the harmonica legend helped artists that include Shane Howard from the Goanna Band, Men at Work’s Colin Hay, Jon Lord from Deep Purple, Slim Dusty, Anne Kirkpatrick and Pat Drummond.

Jim has also been behind the music for cinema and radio projects. Examples include the telemovie “The Riddle of the Stinson” and the comedy “The Honourable Wally Norman”. Production credits include Big Wheel’s “Little Story” and co-producing two Backsliders albums: Hellbound and Sitting On a Million.

A doco on his contribution to music in Australia was televised on SBS in 2000. Jim received the Centenary Medal to acknowledge his immense contribution to the Arts and Music.

A photo of Jim by Greg Weight won the 2003 Prize for Photographic Portraiture. As well, a painting of Jim by Greg Warburton featured in the 2006 final for the Archibald Prize.






One response to “Jim Conway – Harmonica”

  1. Steve Avatar

    Dear Jim,
    Could you please help with chords and lyrics to “Roll that reefer” please if it’s easy like taking a JPG of your old rehearsal charts of something please.
    We used to rage when you could buy a full Harris Tweed English drape suit with Fedora for 50 cents at the old op shops and hit Melbourne from Warrnambool CAE and the Matchbox officers in the 70’s .
    It’s a good song to fit a Uke and maybe my banjo repertoire and occasionally get asked; this might stop em 😂 ( but am mainly bluegrass on it )
    Don’t worry if it’s a huge hastle buddy
    Be well
    Steve Widdicombe

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