Born and raised in the railroad and manufacturing town of Smith Falls, Ontario, Jim Levatte was drawn to music at a young age. While all of his friends played hockey, Levatte gravitated towards the guitar, and he wrote his first song at the age of nine.
As he got older, Levatte and his band honed their country music sound performing on the local club scene, releasing six studio albums along the way. After a car accident in 2013 forced him to leave behind his successful construction business, Levatte decided to focus all of his attention on his music career, and the result has been a creative surge that has led to over 50 hours of demo tape and thousands of song ideas. Among them is Levatte’s newest single, “This Ain’t My Day,” which debuted at #68 on the New Music Weekly country charts. Featuring Levatte’s gravelly vocals atop a honky-tonk piano and some bar-room guitars, the song will be featured on Levatte’s upcoming self-titled album.
To learn more about Levatte and his music, visit jimlevatte.com.
What was your childhood like, and how did it shape who you are today?
My childhood was great. A lot of friends, in a small town, where you knew almost everyone. Family values were very important.
How did you initially become interested in playing music, and when did you become interested in country music specifically?
I found an old guitar in our attic. I started to play it when I was very young and never set it down. I’ve always loved country. I like all kinds of music. I guess I started playing country when it became more rock/pop oriented.
What is your songwriting process?
I usually start writing on guitar, music first. Then the next thing I come up with is a vocal melody. I usually struggle over the lyrics. They take a while to finish.
What was the inspiration behind “This Ain’t My Day”?
“This Ain’t My Day” was written when I had a bad three or four days in a row. Everything seemed to go wrong that could go wrong.
Which of your songs are you most proud of (and why)?
I guess if I had to pick it would be “This Ain’t My Day,” due to all the recognition it is getting.
What guitar (or guitars) do you primarily use when performing live or recording?
Usually my Guild acoustic, my eighties Charvel Jackson, and my Godin electric.
Do you have a particular piece of musical equipment that you hope to own one day?
I use the Universal Audio Apollo for my main recording interface. I hope to purchase the complete line of plug-ins they have to offer.
In your opinion, who are the top three guitarists of all time?
Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, Jimmy Page.
What’s the best song or album you’ve listened to recently?
I am loving “Parachute” by Chris Stapleton right now.
What are you working on next?
After the album is done, I will be doing a bunch of live shows, and I am always writing and recording new songs. That never stops.