Jim grew up in a small town in southeast Kansas, and while everyone else his age was listening to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Jim was listening to Lightnin' Hopkins, Jimmy Reed and Son House. He started playing blues clubs at the advanced age of 13, and these legendary blues figures, along with artists like Sam and Dave and Wilson Pickett, became great influences on both his vocal and guitar style.
His family attended a small Baptist church, and Jim had the opportunity to merge these blues influences with gospel music, which draws strongly from the blues tradition. He led and performed gospel music and sang, along with his four brothers, in churches throughout the surrounding area.
Jim took a four year break from music while he served in the United States Marine Corps, but says "he still had the blues." After his military service, Jim and his family relocated to Southern California. There he picked up his guitar again and made his living as a musician, performing the blues throughout L.A. and Orange County. He also was in demand as a studio vocalist.
As a songwriter Jim has several film credits and a couple of songs cut by Edgar Winter. His credits include the film, "The Waterdance", which starred Wesley Snipes, Eric Stoltz and Helen Hunt, in which both his song and performance were used.
Jim’s voice and guitar playing can also be heard throughout the critically acclaimed 2010 PBS Documentary “For Love of Liberty”.
Jim eventually moved with his family to Colorado Springs during which time he quickly became a prominent figure on the regional blues scene. While running his own acoustic music venue for several years, Jim also built up and mantained a heavy gigging and festival schedule.
Big Jim (along with his duo partner John Stilwagen) were finalists in the 2011 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Category.
Quote from Chick Cavallero (Colorado Blues Society), "they filled the room with more energy and sound than any two guys should be able to pull off. Sitting tall in his chair, Big Jim accompanied his honeyed voice on guitar and two unique wood boxes under his feet that he stomped on to get a drum beat and even some tambourine rattling from. John Stilwagen rounded out their set with his impressive keyboard skills and a lot of humor. These guys are a class act you need to see and become familiar with!"
Before leaving Colorado, Jim also won the 2012 Telluride Acoustic Blues Solo Competition.
“Contest winner Jim Adam gave us some of the best and most authentic blues I have heard in a while. This man definitely deserved winning the Acoustic Blues competition” – listenupDenver.com
In July of 2013, Big Jim relocated to the sunny state of Florida and was promptly selected by the Blues Alliance of the Treasure Coast to represent them in the 2014 International Blues Challenge in the Solo/Duo Category.
"Jim’s emotional singing, sliding swampy guitar with that right hand thumping bass, combined with his stomp box and foot tambourine make for a powerful performance."