Tributes after Fife musician Jim Hyndman dies at 61

Tributes have been paid to a well-known Fife musician who passed away suddenly at the age of 61.

Wednesday, 7th March 2018, 8:34 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th March 2018, 10:57 am
Jim Hyndman.
Jim Hyndman.

Jim Hyndman, from Glenrothes, played extensively across Scotland beyond performing folk, bluegrass, and country music with a number of bands over the years.

He played guitar, fiddle, dobro, and banjo among others, as part of a number of bands like Longway and Scalded Cats, Scots Country Comfort and High Speed Grass.

Jim passed away on Saturday evening, just over a week after performing with Longway at the Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club.

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Jim had played with Scalded Cats, High Speed Grass, Longway, and Scots Country Comfort.

His daughter Alison said the family had been touched by the messages of support from friends.

“He was always ready with a joke and a smile. He was a very clever man.

“We’ve had a lot of messages of support from people.

“We’ve been trying to get the word out. Every message has been about what a good guy and a gentleman he was. He was just so approachable, so likeble.

Jim played a number of instruments.

“I had so much respect for my dad, for the knowledge and ability he had, and the passion he had for the music.”

Longtime friends Sandy and Fiona Forbes, who run the acoustic music club, said the news had left them stunned.

Fiona said: “He was an amazingly talented guy.

“Jim could play anything. He couldn’t read music, he was completely self taught, and he even made a lot of his instruments himself.

Jim had played with Scalded Cats, High Speed Grass, Longway, and Scots Country Comfort.

“He would even get bits of old broken instruments and repair them and build them.

“He’s played instruments and done backing vocals for hundreds of bands.

“A while back the PRS people were looking into what he had played, and it was over 100 album tracks - and that was about 15 years ago.

“I once joked that he could get a tune out of a central heating system, and he laughed because he’d actually managed to injure himself while playing a piece of hose at work.

Jim played a number of instruments.

“He was very amusing and great at putting crowds at ease with stories and jokes.

“One of the reasons that the Scalded Cats were so popular was because he and Bob Aimer could between them play nearly any kind of music, and did.

“His family were heavily musical, his mum and dad started what was possibly the first country music club in Scotland, at Markinch.”

Sandy said: “What I found quite amazing was that during a gig, they’d start playing a song, and Jim would have possibly a guitar or a banjo, and it would only be at the end of the song he would suddenly realise that he would normally have played that song on the fiddle, but it was seamless.

“The thing I loved about Jim was he was a great team player in bands. He didn’t want to hog the limelight and he didn’t have a big ego.

“He was great at making folk feel good about themselves and bringing them forward. He was very understated. He never made a fool of anybody, even if they were playing in a rowdy atmosphere.

“He just had this inclusiveness, this warmth, he was a big imposing figure but he was very gentle.”

Jim also had a great grasp of technology, using recording equipment and making instructional videos for musicians on YouTube.

A 2007 video featuring him playing the banjo alongside his then-two-year-old grandaughter on a squeezebox gathered more than 60,000 views.

Longway bandmate Robin Wallace said that despite Jim’s talents he remained modest in his approach to music.

“He had no idea just how special he was musically. He was quietly proud. What he thought was just being proficient was actually godsent and inspired.

“The best banjo players in Britain and Europe would put him among the best of them. As far as we’re concerned he was the best.

“There was scarecely a stringed instrument he couldn’t play. He was an incredibly generous teacher in terms of inspiring others.

“In Fife’s accoustic music circuit he was actually Scotland’s biggest export. He’s probably the most prolific stringed instrument player that Fife’s produced in my lifetime.”

Fife musician Rab Noakes posted a tribute online to Jim.

He said: “I am saddened to hear of this most untimely event. He was such a lovely man.

“I first met him about 1974 when I played a wee concert at Glenrothes High School. The master who was organising it had arranged for Jim to come and play a few banjo tunes. He was at the school at the time and something of a prodigy.

“He played really well. It’s well-known his family were big country aficionados and players. He was great on the more acoustic, folky, old timey stuff and I met him a lot over the years especially once he began to play with Davie Craig & Robin McKidd.

“My thoughts are with his family and friends.

“The High School event in the ‘70s was unpaid but they presented me with an original David Heminsley pot as a thank you. I’ve treasured it ever since. When I look upon it now and in the future, it’ll forever remind me of Jim.”

Jim is survived by his wife Zena, daughter Alison, and son Owen.

A service will be held on Friday, March 23, at Kirkcaldy Crematorium.