Jimmy Crack Corn entered this cruel world as James William Ray on a spring night in Barley, Kansas on April 12, 1973. He was thrust into the hard knock life of the pro rodeo circuit; son of a fiery red haired Texas barrel racer, Tammy Jo Baker and Keith, a roller coaster operator she met at the Calgary Stampede. At the age of eight, Jimmy or ‘Billy’, as he was sometimes called, was given up for adoption when his high-flying parents found it too difficult to raise their stampede love child on the road. Phil and Phylis Courne of Taber, Alberta adopted James and raised him like one of their very own children of the corn. They set him to work on the farm teaching him to sow, grow, hoe, and know pretty much all there is about the golden kerneled cob. Jimmy taught himself to play guitar and wrote songs about his life amongst the Courne. Alas, the farm couldn’t keep him down and the restless teen fled to Calgary, the city of his conception, in search of his real country roots. The city had some tough lessons for Jimmy. The people here all seemed nice enough, but they sure didn’t look like the cowboys he remembered from the Stampede days. They wore suits, cardigans or surf gear until 10 days in July when the rodeo hit town. Then everyone would get dressed up like it was Halloween except always wearing the same costume – a cowboy outfit – for days on end, hollering, “yahoo, I’m a cowboy!” Long gone were the sounds of Wilf Carter and Hank Williams though. Loverboy and Phil Collins filled the air tonight… and most nights. His disapointment with the “country” he thought he knew drove Jimmy to turn to late nights and the devil’s music – rock ‘n roll. The glitter of the stage walked hand in hand with lady night’s dark side and at times it seemed like the only country music JImmy could find came from his new colour TV. Heehaw, Tommy Hunter Ian & Sylvia Tyson – were wholesome enough but they just couldn’t keep up with the flash of new country and they retreated. Jimmy left too, continuing his search for the roots of the music he hated to love. Jimmy took to riding horses again and learned to shoe heavy pulling Clydesdales in the Rocky Mountain foothills. He learned bluegrass in the Okanagan valley then he fell in love with country swing on the West coast, of all places, along with yoga, tribal beats, and a pioneering spirit of experimenting with all of the above. A fews years back he was in Alberta touring a fringe festival show, Heavey Petting Zoo, and doing dinner theatre to help support his habits. That’s when he heard the young Albertan, Corb Lund, and a sense of pride and hope for the future of old time music came over him. Country AND city folk seemed to be getting back to the old time organic homegrown sounds. Now Jimmy Crack Corn has hit the stage again to the delight of fans everywhere, encouraging his audiences to sing along to his playful brand of redneck twang. It’s infectiously fun as Jimmy plays the brash rodeo clown and ringmaster all at once allowing people to let their hair down, and be politically incorrect in a deliciously white trash way. Jimmy is currently recording his first full length album due out in the spring of 2011.
Double Bill with Jimmy Crack Corn
Bio: Here's my story...
I entered this cruel world as James William Ray in Barley, Kansas on April 12, 1973. I was thrust into the hard knock life of the pro rodeo circuit; son of a fiery red haired Texas barrel racer, Tammy Jo Baker and Keith, a roller coaster operator she met at the Calgary Stamped...See Full Bio