Born James Oren Boyington at Toronto General Hospital Feb. 19, 1958, Canada native Jim Diamond – Boyington grew up in a musical family. There was always music being played in the house; live or on a record player. He was greatly influenced by his uncle Ken, who was steeped in the musical culture of the day, playing in bands and working as a session player in Toronto.
As a very young boy, he always sitting in front of the TV on Saturday and Sunday watching and listening to the cartoons. His mother soon realized it wasn’t the cartoons he was most interested in, it was the music. He loved the classical music played during the cartoons of the day. That’s where is love for music began. He could be found banging away on his dad’s guitar, backward and upside down to the music of the day . . .
But it wasn’t until the summer of 1970 when he saw B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix on TV that he knew he wanted to play guitar. His first two records that year were B.B. King’s Paying the Cost to be Boss and Jimi Hendrix’s Are you Experienced. Other guitar heroes soon emerged: Terry Kath, Johnny Winter, Peter Green, T-Bone Walker, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddie King, along with Canadians Dutch Mason and Randy Bachman, to name a few. Soon he was spending the allowance he earned on records, all types of music … blues, jazz, country and rock and roll.
Although left-handed, his father put a right-handed guitar in his hands and said, “Son, if you want to play, you need to play right-handed because there will always be right-handed guitars around. So you might as well learn right-handed. It’s easier than playing upside down and backward!” Little did the young Jim Diamond know that one of his guitar heroes, Albert King, played that exact way. He began playing his father’s guitar, a mid-60s Harmony acoustic, but he yearned for that wild new sound that Jimi Hendrix had. He wanted to go electric and he was soon borrowing friends’ guitars and amps to jam with.
At age 15, he bought his first electric guitar from a pawnshop in Toronto on Queens Street, a 1959 Les Paul Jr. for $150. One afternoon while jamming, he set his guitar on a chair to take a call from a girl, and his guitar slid off the chair and broke! This was a guitar turning point for him and his first taste of the blues. And he only bought one other Gibson, a 1954 ES 225- TDN over the next 30 years. In fact, still today Stratocasters are his guitar of choice.
His first band was The Lavender Blue Band. They played at their high school, community centers and parties. Two years later he severed a tendon on his left ring finger causing him to put down his guitar. Also, during this time of his life, he was a highly touted amateur hockey player and was drafted in the Major Jr. A Ontario draft 0f 1976, 35th out of 264. in a draft that had three to four thousand other eligible players pursuing a professional hockey career. In the end, it didn’t quite pan out the way everyone thought. So began his dream of music.
Then at age twenty-five, Diamond left Canada with the clothes on his back and moved to Michigan to go to college. While attending school, he began to seek out the passion of his life. He began to attend open jams at local clubs, relearning to play and to play with just three fingers. In 1989, Diamond moved to Cincinnati where his lifelong love of the blues began to flower. Although handicapped by the use of his third finger, he found his muse and began to really play and begin to write. The first year he wrote 30 songs, including a rousing tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, “The King of the Blues.”
By 1990, Diamond had formed The Groove Syndicate and was playing full-time, logging 190 shows his first year. By February 1999, he had played 1,000 shows. Then in 1995, Diamond met his last drummer and his lifelong soul mate, his wife Beth. In 1996, Diamond moved to Franklin, Ky., just north of Nashville, where he recorded his first album “ANGEL CHILD.” The record was recorded after the band had only been together for four months. His sophomore record, “SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW” was released in August 1999 and features Stevie Ray Vaughan standout on keys, Reese Wynans. Jim and Beth went on to play all over the world with three different versions of The Groove Syndicate. There have been 12 different versions of The Groove Syndicate since 1989.
The Groove Syndicate is an international blues recording, award-winning, Kentuckiana Blues Society champ, top regional act based in Bowling Green. They have been a featured act on KET’s Jubilee and have played over 2,000 shows. They have played in Canada, Switzerland, Italy, England, Wales and the U.S. The Groove Syndicate is an original act performing 85 percent original material.
The band has three CDs: ANGEL CHILD – 1997, SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW – 1999 and LIVE ALIVE – 2003.
Influences: Freddie King, Albert King, B.B. King, Ronnie Earl, Johnny Winter, SRV, Albert Collins, Snooks Eaglin, Duke Robilard, Luther Allison, Wendell Holmes, Eddie Shaw, Stacy Mitchhart