Jim Meck was born in Allentown, PA and raised in Lower Longswamp, Berks County, PA. He began playing piano at age four. When he was thirteen, he was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal disease that leads to total blindness. At fourteen, he was hired as Assistant Organist at a local Lutheran church. He began performing professionally when he was eighteen as house piano player at the historic 1760 House in Trexlertown, PA. Until 1990, Jim also played in a few local rock and country bands. Then, for fourteen years he was the house piano player at the Topton Hotel (later Topton House and is now the White Palm Tavern). Jim earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education at Kutztown University in 2006. Jim often hired local independent musicians and eventually formed his band, The Guide Dogs, who performed several times at Berks Jazz Fest, Reading Fightin’ Phils, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and Long Beach Island, NJ. He continued playing solo, duo, and band gigs at various venues until January 2016 when he moved to Tacoma, Washington where he now resides. Jim is planning on continuing his musical endeavors while receiving training in skills he needs to be successful and independent in spite of his sight loss. He is the founding President of the Greater Berks Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania and continues to be an advocate for people with disabilities.
Jim writes and sings original songs
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. He also covers many other artists. His main style is classic rock, but he is very comfortable with jazz standards, classic country, and some current hits. With Jim’s ability to play intricate bass lines while chording and singing, the result is a full sound that is also very compatible when adding additional musicians. His ability to entertain a crowd and adapt the music on the fly is a rare gift that has delighted audiences for years. Click on the Music tab for a song list and demos.
After performing mostly in the eastern Pennsylvania region, especially the Lehigh Valley (Allentown), Berks (Reading), and Schuylkill Counties for years, Jim is excited to bring his talents to the Pacific Northwest.
Even though he can provide dinner music, Jim is eternally trying to fight off the stigma of a lounge act as he provides high energy entertainment (see “Artists covered” below) full of audience requests. With a repertoire of over 400 songs, Jim does not usually use a set list so he can stay flexible and let the crowd drive the music.
In addition to local public venues, Jim is often hired for parties, corporate and private. With a very diverse repertoire, he also entertains at senior centers, nursing homes, and for service organizations where a wide variety of music is desired. As a result of many years experience as a church musician, Jim also provides music for funerals and memorial services so people can honor their loved ones with live music that was important in their lives.
“It’s all about the music and the listener, not me. Life has a soundtrack and my job is to provide music that will entertain as well as bring back memories for the audience.” – Jim Meck
Here’s a snapshot of Jim’s musical life:
- Bachelor of Science in Music Education – Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
- Wrote an original theme song for Sirius/XM Radio’s NHL Home Ice Channel and their shows “Hockey This Morning” and “The War Room”. The shows are based in Toronto, ON.
- Sang the National Anthem several times at “Fightin’ Phils” game in Reading, PA
- Appeared with the Guide Dogs as part of Concerts on the Green in Beach Haven, NJ
- Played at The Cotton Club in Harlem, NYC with the Cotton Club All-Stars
- Composed, recorded and performed “Laura’s Song” in loving memory
- Performed several times as part of Berks Jazz Fest
- Wrote a regular column for a local newspaper, The Kutztown Patriot
- Appeared on several radio and TV shows
- First drummer for Brandywine Minstrels in Topton, PA
- Over 30 years “gigging” experience
Bands include: Nasty Habits (rock), Duane Angstadt and the Country Rhythm Band (country), Back in the Saddle (country rock), The Buffalo Chips (country show band), Overture (Jim’s band), filled in with several other bands including School’s Out Band, Scott Marshall’s Marshall’s Highway, and the Ric Toole Band (Ric is a former member of The Outlaws).
Artists covered by Jim include:
Billy Joel, Elton John, Jackson Browne, Beatles, Paul McCartney & Wings, John Lennon, Jimmy Buffet, Eagles, Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jeff Healey Band, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker, Van Halen, Bob Marley, Van Morrison, Jethro Tull, Queen, Cheap Trick, Badfinger, Three Dog Night, James Taylor, Harry Chapin, Fastball, Uncle Kracker, The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, The Casinos, Righteous Brothers, Dion, Elvis Presley, Drifters, Phil Phillips, Percy Sledge, Arrogant Worms, Monty Python, Hank Williams (Sr. & Jr.). Leroy Heffentraeger, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Harry Connick, Jr., Michael Buble, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Bruno Mars, Gavin DeGraw, Mumford & Sons, Johnny Cash, and more
Venues have included many local restaurants, clubs, hotels, resorts, country clubs, carnivals, festivals, private homes, businesses, warehouses, parade floats, airplane hangars, beaches, churches, senior centers, nursing homes, funeral homes, and more. See Jim’s SCHEDULE for current locations.