For many years Jim Dorie was busy raising three children working a full time job in the oil and gas industry in Alberta. Life was busy. Although he grew up in Nova Scotia surrounded by music as many do on the East Coast, he barely touched his guitar outside of the occasional kitchen party or jamming with a friend. With three kids to raise, time was mostly spent between work and chauffeuring his kids to extra curricular activities. As he approached the opportunity to retire, Jim was advised by a friend to find something to do with the extra 40 to 60 hours he would have every week. He looked to music as a retirement hobby, a way that he could reconnect with his East Coast roots.
Four years after releasing his first CD, Jim is in the midst of releasing his third album, Drop Forge. He received an ECMA nomination on his second album, and has a busy touring schedule. His hobby has turned into a career.
At 64 years old Jim admits he is still learning about the business aspect of the music industry. Social media doesn’t come naturally to him. He has also witnessed the rapid evolution of the business. Four years ago he was able to place his album in local records stores that have now vanished. Jim recognizes that live performance is now the bread and butter for performing songwriters who want to make a living.
There’s a lot of freedom in his new career. He is financially secure and could quit at any given moment. As a result, the only person he is trying to satisfy is himself. He also has realistic expectations for his career. He doesn’t expect big time fame or accolades. Instead, he chooses to focus on what he’s good at – writing songs filled with stories that resonate with his audience. Songs like “Living in Alberta” about the cost of moving away from home to make a living.
Jim credits Dave Gunning as begin a pivotal figure in the development of his career. He previously attended Dave’s performances during visits back to Nova Scotia and purchased his CDs. After retiring, Jim approached Dave for some pointers and thus began an important relationship. Dave produced Jim’s first and most recent album. Although Jim writes primarily by himself, Jim has also found a writing partner in producer/songwriter Dave Gunning. He has two tracks, including “Living in Alberta,” on Dave’s 2014 ECMA Record of the Year – No More Pennies.
Jim may not have a large corporation or millions of dollars behind him, but he has stricken a wonderful partnership with his wife, Jeanne Dorie, who has come onboard as a graphics designer and website manager. He has received great feedback on all the tour posters, CD graphics and shirts that she makes for Jim’s stage wear. More recently, Jim has started working with booking agent/publicist Jenny MacDonald – a talented artist in her own right. This helps him get more time to do what he loves doing – which is songwriting and performing. In fact, he already has enough material for his next three albums.
All of this is a great reprieve as Jim faced a cancer scare and surgery last year that could have meant a long hiatus from his burgeoning career. Prior to his surgery, he rushed to finish this latest album for fear it might never get recorded. He wanted to make sure these songs could be passed on to his kids. Luckily his oncologist gave him the “all-clear” and he went back to finish the album.
Jim’s success story is sure to be an inspiration to any songwriter stuck behind a cubicle wondering if they will ever find time to pursue their dreams. Jim’s only advice is to do it for yourself and not for fame or fortune. As for his own aspirations? He looks to Willie Nelson and Gordon Lightfoot who are still touring in their 80s. Jim figures he still has at least 20 years in his new career.
Click Here to visit Jim Dorie’s Songwriter Profile and hear some of his tunes.