Jim Horn passes

Jim Horn, bluegrass Gospel singer and left-handed guitarist from Martin County, Kentucky, passed away on January 30, 2022, at his home in Warfield, Kentucky. He was 89 years of age.

James Henry Horn was born on March 25, 1932, and was a self-taught guitarist, learning to play in his early teens. 

When he was 16 years of age, Horn was hit by a car leaving him with a limp for the rest of his life.  

Also, Horn was visually impaired, but in his younger days could still work on his own cars by feeling mostly where everything was. 

During the early 1960s he teamed up with Lowell Varney and together they earned a contract working on Buddy Starcher’s WCHS-TV show based in Charleston, West Virginia. They recorded together and separately with some singles being released by Cabut Recording, Horn’s Shelby, Ohio-based company that was active from the mid-1960s through to the early 1970s.

Horn wrote most of the material that he recorded, with songs such as I Thank God, I Got Heaven On My Mind, Sea Of Glass, Dying Preacher’s Bible, Goodbye My Friend, Let’s Work While It’s Day, I’d Like To Walk In The Garden, I Learned About Heaven From Mama, New Robe, Hammer in Jerusalem, Lord Let Me Live, and Goodbye Dear Soldier to his credit.

Also, he penned A Place Called Heaven, Mother, Somebody On Your Bond, and Great Jehovah with Varney.

According to niece Samantha Fury’s findings, 

“He played on the Porter Wagoner show before Dolly. And later on, did meet her and played for her. He met and more than likely played with Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Dave Evans, The Boys From Indiana, and sang with way too many groups to mention.”

He also played on the background music for Kentucky Woman, the 1983 American made-for-television drama film starring Cheryl Ladd and Ned Beatty.  

Horn was a pastor for many years, playing locally in several churches and at funerals.

Fury added …. 

“He loved his family – always willing to help his family when he could – and bluegrass music and to trade. He loved Martin guitars most of all and could tune one like no one I’d ever seen in my life. He was fast and very accurate. People around here called him Music Man.

He was very funny and a good conversationalist on many topics. “

R.I.P. Jim Horn 

The funeral service took place in Warfield on February 2, 2022.

A Discography 

Jim Horn & The Green Mountain Boys

  • One Christmas Dark Night / Dying Preacher’s Bible (REM Records 45-327, 1963)
  • Lord Let Me Live (REM – LP 1009, 1964) 
  • I Thank God / I Got Heaven On My Mind (Cabut – 45-108, 196?) 
  • Crying In The Car / Sea Of Glass (Cabut C-1013, 1969)

Lowell Varney & Jim Horn

  • These Bones / I learned about Heaven from Mama (REM 45 403, 1966)
  • A Place Called Heaven (REM Records LP-1019, December 1966) / Old Homestead OHCS 70075, c.1987)
  • Folk Sound Of Gospel Music (REM Records LP-1027, 1967) / Old Homestead OHCS 70076, c.1987)

(with the Gospel Pioneers) 

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.