Kala Ukelele endorsing artist Jim Mayer

Kala Ukulele (U-bass) endorsing artist Jim Mayer

I first met Jim Mayer a few years ago at a Parrothead event (Tropstock) in Cocoa Village, FL.  While our band (the Parrot Island Band) opened the event, Jim, brother Peter, Nadirah Shakoor and Doyle Grisham (all members of Jimmy Buffett’s band, the Coral Reefers) were the musicians that everyone came to see (including me!).  There were a number of other Trop Rock bands/performers at the event and it was a thrill for me to be a part of the event that had some of “Jimmy Buffett’s band” to get to meet up close.

On Saturday of Tropstock, Jim (who also goes by “Uncle Jim” for his children’s music events) played for all of the children who had come to the event. I enjoyed seeing someone who plays for a band as big as the Coral Reefers also share another side to his music. I have since seen Jim present his IM4U Anti-Bullying program to elementary and middle school students in Alabama (organized by my friend, Derek Raulerson) and I was moved by his passion for helping young people through his message and music.








As I looked at the list of Kala Ukulele artists, I saw Jim’s name under those who play the U-bass (a baritone Ukulele that is built to be played as a bass). I thought it would be interesting to ask a few questions and hear about his current music projects (one of which includes the Kala U-bass)…

Bio (taken from http://www.unclejimrocks.com):

Jim’s talent shines on both electric and upright acoustic bass, playing with performers ranging from jazz legend Mose Allison to James Taylor to Ringo Starr. As a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band since 1989, Mayer has been writing, recording and performing worldwide with Buffett.

In addition to appearing on numerous television shows, some of Mayer's career highlights have been: touring with and opening for The Moody Blues and Chicago as a member of PM [the Peter Mayer Group] (1989), performing as a Coral Reefer band member at President Clinton's Inauguration (1992) and President Clinton's White House Birthday Celebration (1995), performing with Joni Mitchell in a benefit for the New Orleans Homeless (1994), performing with Robert Greenidge, Michael Utley and Grammy winning artist Ralph MacDonald at the Trinidad-Tabago Jazz Festival (1996), and being featured on the XM Kids Rumpus Room Concert Series.

Mayer has played on over thirty studio recordings. Some recent recording credits include upcoming CD releases from Little Feat and JD Souther. And in his spare time, (spare time, what's that?) he's engineered and produced eleven CDs in addition to his own.
Jim resides in Nashville where he works continually to improve the lives of children and their parents with music and videos. He loves dogs, climbing trees, and chunky peanut butter.

Uncle Jim presents a compelling anti-bullying program entitled “IM4U” (I’m for you).


Kala Jim Mayer







1) Where is home for you at the moment?

 “Nashville, TN”

2) What were your earliest/current musical influences?

 “ Earliest: The Beatles
   Current: Brett Dennen

3) When did you start playing the Uke?

  “Four years ago”

4) What Kala Ukes are you currently playing?


5) Any current musical projects you would like to tell us about (tours/CD's)?

“Just finished recording the new Buffett release in Key West, FL. The Kala U-Bass was used on special songs and sounded fantastic and unique; the band was digging it. Will Kimbrough sat next to me and played an 8-string uke and rocked on it.

Personally I am working on a Bully Prevention Teaching Program for young children called ‘IM4U’.”

6) Any question that you wished someone would ask but never has? with answer of course;-)

“Q:What keeps music interesting and keeps you inspired?

A: 1) Believing that notes I play really matter and require my complete attention, dedication and focus.

2) Keeping perspective by having a sense of humor about where my notes fit into the larger scheme of things. The ocean, the sky, a forest, a lake are all amazing and inspiring.”

I have been a Jimmy Buffett fan for many years and I have also become a fan of Jim Mayer as well (both as a person and his music). Although I am not in the same league musically to Jim, it is neat for me to be able say that we are both Kala Ukulele artists. 🙂 I look forward to hearing Buffett’s new CD when it comes out and I will be listening for Jim’s U-bass and Will Kimbrough’s 8-string Ukulele…

While we are certainly no Coral Reefer Band, our little Trop rock trio (the Parrot Island Band, a Trop rock/Jimmy Buffett tribute band from Atlanta, GA) is always ready to play some Buffett tunes while Jimmy and the rest of the band are filling their venues. I like to promote our little group as “Jimmy Buffett on a budget” and there are many groups like ours throughout the country who are thankful for the opportunity to share our love of Buffett music.

Thanks Jim, for taking the time to answer a few questions and always being ready to share your love for music and your infectious smile…

Beaches and blessings,

Bry Harris

Kala Uke Artist


Kala Brand Music Bry Harris

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