Pianist Jim Wilson had a long career in keyboard-related technical work before he became a recording artist in his own right. Born in Greenville, SC, he moved with his family to Amarillo, TX, when he was six and grew up there. He first began playing the guitar at seven and was composing songs by the age of nine or ten. By 14, he was playing in bands that were earning money. He switched to the piano at 19 and moved to Los Angeles, where he went to piano-tuning school. He also signed on with a song publisher and began submitting his work to television shows. He composed music for the TV series Frank's Place (1987-1988), but he gained his greatest recognition in the music business as a piano tuner while also developing a MIDI adaptor for acoustic piano and teaching its uses to musicians. This work brought him in contact with such stars as Burt Bacharach, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel, Elton John, Carole King, Paul McCartney, and Bruce Springsteen.
It was not until 1997 that Wilson found the time to write and record his debut album, which he then offered to record companies. Signing to EMI's Angel division, he issued Northern Seascape in January 1999. The new age effort, including originals by Wilson along with a cover of the 1967 Left Banke hit "Walk Away Renee," featured such guest musicians as Dan Fogelberg, Davey Johnstone of Elton John's band, and Dave Koz, and it reached number 21 on Billboard's Top New Age Albums chart. Wilson followed it in July 2001 with Cape of Good Hope, released by Hillsboro. This time, the cover tune was the Blind Faith classic "Can't Find My Way Home," and the guests included Fogelberg, Johnstone, and Chris Botti; the album hit number eight in the new age chart.
Moving to Word Entertainment in 2002, Wilson cut a seasonal album, My First Christmas with You. His next album, Quiet Shadows (aka Playing Favorites) featured his covers of pop hits like "Wichita Lineman" and Elton John's "Your Song." He finished a new album in 2004 and tentatively titled it Sanctuary for a few press copies, though it was never released commercially under that name. In June 2005, Artemis Nashville announced that it had signed him to a contract, and in August the label released the album, by now retitled A Place in My Heart. ~ William Ruhlmann