‘Different Volks for Different Folks’: speaking with Guitarist Jim Volk

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“You know, they say different strokes for different Volks,” said Columbus-based guitarist and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Jim Volk during an interview with WOUB Public Media, just a few days before he’s scheduled to perform an intimate set at Athens Uncorked.

“Some people want consistency, the tried and true, but if that’s what they want – I’m not the guy for them,” he continued, in reference to the incredible variety of music that he’s managed to craft over the course of his career.

Jim Volk (

A detour to his website (where you can download a number of his songs for free,) or even just a Google search for him proves him right. From rock influenced, shuffling tunes, to low key instrumentals, to lyric-less songs that demand one’s attention, Volk has performed just about every type of tune under sun, minus perhaps hip-hop or EDM or maybe trumpet rock.

While he can sing a folk song, or perform an intense jazz number, or captivate an audience with unobtrusive music perfect for sipping wine to, all of which are things one would think would make a very book-able musician; Volk compares his constant task of trying to book himself to a sort of Sisyphean work.

“I’m well-known for the guitar work, as a sort of instrumentalist who sings – but it just depends what people see when they search me on YouTube. Sometimes they’ll see me performing an instrumental, and then they think ‘oh, he doesn’t sing,’ which means that 99 percent of all venues are not going to be interested in me,” said Volk. “But that’s just my boulder to push uphill. And I must present myself how my spirit compels me to, or else I’ll hate myself.”


Volk said that he’s found audiences in Athens to be particularly receptive to his music, and to the live performance he has honed over the years.

“All artists pick up on a lot of psychic crap, all this stuff that is floating around us, but that’s also what allows us to attune ourselves to the listener and enables us to develop a good rapport with them,” he said. “When I’m playing for an audience, we’re all in it together, we’re riding this wave, and it’s not so much which song I’m going to play next, it’s which song we’re going to play next, which not all audiences are aware of. But in Athens, you have a lot of those people who understand that. I love Athens and I love just about everything about the town, and I wish I had found the place sooner.”

Jim Volk will perform at Athens Uncorked, located at 14 Station Street, starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 20.