JIM GABEHARTwas born on August 31, 1961, and was raised in South Charleston, West Virginia. Jim graduated from South Charleston High School, Marshall University, and West Virginia University College of Law. Jim and wife Valerie have two children: Jimmy, Jr. age 22, and Amy, age 19. Jim grew up in a musical family. Jim’s father played harmonica and guitar, and his father played many instruments, including the banjo. At the age of 13, Jim received his first banjo for Christmas and at 15 joined his first group and began performing in public.
Jim developed a reputation for his banjo playing by competing in contests throughout West Virginia and surrounding states, winning or placing at the top in over thirty contests, including consecutive wins at the West Virginia State Open Banjo Championship in Elkins, West Virginia (the official State Championship) and winning first or second place twelve times at contests sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Culture & History (in Charleston and Clifftop, West Virginia). Jim also began teaching at the age of 16, ultimately teaching hundreds of students at Gorby’s Music, Herbert Music, Fret ‘n Fiddle, and the University of Charleston. Jim performed as a member of Bluegrass Heritage, Free Spirit, the Russell Brothers Boogie Grass Band, and Robin Tackett & Taste of Grass. Jim performed as a Lonesome Rambler with Larry Sparks on a two-week stint through Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and was offered a permanent job, but at that time (1981) Jim had recently committed his life to Christ, had become engaged, and was still in college. In addition to the groups listed above, Jim has performed on stage with Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, the Whites, Jimmy Martin, Mac Wiseman, the Bluegrass Cardinals, the Lost & Found, John Hartford, Josh Graves and Kenny Baker, and the Charleston Symphony.
Jim has joined up with The Grass Stains in 2016 playing bass and providing harmony vocals.