Jim Newsom and the Cloudless Sky
Jim Newsom is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who is well known and highly regarded throughout southeastern Virginia. His new band is called Jim Newsom and the Cloudless Sky, featuring Gail Keller Smith on keyboards and harmony vocals, and Rick Jebavy on drums. The band’s concert repertoire draws primarily from Jim’s catalog of original songs, in particular, material from his three CDs released over the last four years.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jim grew up in Suffolk, Virginia, graduating from Suffolk High School and Virginia Tech. He’s been a popular musician regionally since the mid-1970s. He is also a highly regarded music writer and critic whose work has been published in the All Music Guide, PortFolio Weekly, and VEER Magazine among many print and online publications. He is well known throughout the area as a popular television personality, having hosted programs on the local PBS and NPR affiliates for thirty-five years.
He first played music as a youngster after picking up the basics from his sister’s piano lesson books. He subsequently drove his parents crazy banging out rock and roll on the family’s living room piano. In high school, he bought a flute for $25.00 from a girlfriend in the marching band and taught himself to play by listening to the recordings of Herbie Mann and Jethro Tull. He learned guitar from a Bob Dylan songbook.
In recent years, Jim has performed at major regional festivals including Norfolk’s Harborfest, Chesapeake Jubilee, Stockley Gardens Arts Festival, Seawall Art Show, Chelsea Summer Solstice Festival, the ETC Festival, and the Norfolk Folk Festival. He has headlined special events like the Norfolk Harbor Party, Cultural Alliance Brew at the Zoo, D’Art Affair and Taste of Chesapeake; played concerts at the Naro Theatre, the American Theatre, Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, the Pretlow and Slover Libraries in Norfolk, the Hampton History Museum and the Virginia Beach Central Library. He regularly performs in restaurants and coffeehouses, craft breweries and art centers, and at corporate conventions and private functions throughout southeastern Virginia from Suffolk to the Eastern Shore. He’s also been featured on regional television and radio programs such as Out of the Box, Hunter at Sunrise, Acoustic Highway, the Hampton Roads Show, Coast Live and Norfolk Perspectives.