Glen Ellyn Musician Happy to Play, Ready for More With Upcoming Album
Jim Gwynn, founder of the band JIP, thinks the band's upcoming album release could lead to bigger things.
When he isn’t working or going to school full-time to earn his business degree, Jim Gwynn is making music.
For Gwynn, music isn’t a hobby; it’s his life. And, it’s his day job that makes the music possible.
Back when he was a kid in grade school, Gwynn started writing poetry, which he eventually translated into writing song lyrics. For years, those lyrics were never shared with anyone that is until he created JIP in 2001.
As the founder of the band JIP, the Glen Ellyn resident is having the musical year of his life. This fall, he will put out an album—Sparks, Flames & Names—which he hopes will be successful beyond expectations.
Over the last year, the band has played new venues, like the Double Door in Chicago where the band performed earlier this week. It has had new opportunities to participate in music contests, including an online battle of the bands from Bud Light, which if chosen as a finalist could lead to the band performing in the Bud Light Port Paradise Music Festival.
JIP’s latest musical project also allowed Gwynn to collaborate with musical heavy hitters among a variety of musical genres, he said.
If there was going to be any point in time when Gwynn would think he might make it to the big time, when he hears his latest recording, he said, that time is now.
“Making it is being happy right where I am, but if this takes off it would be incredible,” he said.
JIP started out as a solo project in 2001, but in the last year, Gwynn said he realized the need to bring on band mates to take the next step forward and make the most of the momentum his musical career was experiencing. This year JIP went from being a solo project to a three-piece band. Gwynn sings, writes and plays guitar. In addition, Joe D’onofrio plays bass and Mike Charbonneau is on percussion.
Last year, Gwynn put out an album, Year X, which garnered a lot of positive response and now he hopes to build on that success.
At this point, the money to record comes out of his own pocket, which is why his job working in admissions at an area nursing school is crucial to him taking vacations with his wife and creating music.
“People think you are a total recluse if you are in a rock and roll band, but you can’t really do that if you are an artist,” he said.
Though he is very content right where he is in his life, if a record label came calling or if someone wanted to use a song of his in a commercial, Gwynn wouldn’t mind. While he said, there is hope a musician will become successful at some point, that isn’t the main purpose for music or why he does what he does.
“Music has always been an escape,” he said. “I’m a fan first rather than an artist.”
The new album, which will be coming out this fall allowed Gwynn to collaborate with artists from a variety of genres, including blues and country.
Though '90s alternative was his major influence, the new release shows Gwynn’s range, he said. The seven songs on the album were recorded with seven different artists.
“The '90s rock base is there, but it’s not all that I do as a songwriter now,” he said. “I didn’t think as a 31-year-old man I could write a song with a 19-year-old or go record in Nashville with a country artist. Everything is shuffled now.”
“I’m not sure what is going to come,” Gwynn said. “The coolest part is I’m in control of what happens. The sky is the limit of what could happen, but even if I stay at home in my townhome in Glen Ellyn, that’s fine.”