Catching up with Jim Callahan: Part I

By Dave Carew

When I reviewed Jim Callahan’s recent album The Poet, I said of it, “No fan of Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, or Guy Clark should miss this record.”  Jim’s work has an authentic, homespun, real-deal feel to it that is often sadly lacking in today’s Music Row songwriting.

Underground Nashville hadn’t talked with Jim for a while, so we sought him out for a quick catch-up session. Here’s how our conversation went:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  What have you been doing lately?  What have been two or three highlights, in terms of your career as a singer-songwriter?

JIM CALLAHAN: I’ve spent the last few months concentrating on the two most important facets of my music: my writing skills and my performance skills. I try to read a little about other writers every day, trying to understand their insights, approaches, and inspirations. I also practice a few of my songs everyday, usually in front of a mirror, sitting on a high stool, with a live mic, replicating a songwriter-round setting. And for the past four months The Essential Bob Dylan is the only thing that plays on my car radio.

I try to keep those highlights dimmed a bit. In the past I have fallen from those personal highs to the darkness of mediocrity; it’s a very long and painful fall. Too many seek grandiose dreams and become disappointed when they miss the mark. I try hard to aim at the next step, not the end of a journey. I still have those down moments, when a song idea falls apart, when a co-writer cancels an appointment, when the audience is sparse or they choose not to listen. Having said that, my recent highlights would include:

* The completion and release of The Poet; )

Performing at The Listening Room Café to a crowd of about 125;

* Being invited to co-write with some incredible talents, including Beth Marie Anderson, Tanya Sue Pollard, Alicia Michilli, Michael Boris, and Taylor Dukes.

Part II of ‘Underground
Nashville’s” conversation with singer-songwriter Jim Callahan will be posted next week. It will include a schedule of Jim’s upcoming live gigs. In the meantime, we invite you to enjoy this new song from Jim, called ‘Downtown.’

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at Dave also is a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit and “like” the page on Facebook:

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Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew


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