Players Gallery

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Some of Jim’s customers are professionals with names that may be familiar to you. We’ve put together some information about them including a few videos here, and also on our Video Vault page and YouTube Channel.

Country music artist Clint Black recently purchased an Olson SJ cedar top guitar. Clint was kind enough to send Jim this nice studio shot of him holding the guitar. To see if Clint and his band will be performing in a town near you, check out his website

Jonatha's unique songwriting, singing, and guitar playing (she often uses the unusual altered tuning, Eb Bb Eb F Bb Eb) first came to national attention when she performed as a duo with Jennifer Kimball, together comprising The Story. More recently Jonatha is performing as a solo artist. She plays both an Olson SJ and a Guild jumbo, favoring the Olson for songs in tunings close to standard, and the Guild for open Eb sus 2 and Eb maj 9 (no 3) tunings. You can find out more about her at the Jonatha Brooke web page.

Zac bought a Mahogany / Adirondack SJ cut-away and Jim was able to personally deliver to it Zac when he was performing in Minneapolis. Zac is a great friend of Taylor Guitars and an endorsing artist for them. Zac performed "Colder Weather" with guest James Taylor on the CMA Awards and decided he wanted an Olson. Thrilled to know he now has one.

Born in Nashville and raised in a musical family, Michael Card mastered guitar and piano early in his life, but went to school to study scripture. There he was encouraged to write songs for weekly worship; this musical "diversion" soon became his occupation! His friend Randy Scruggs produced his first album; later albums would win Card the coveted Dove award and respect from fans and peers alike as both a musical talent and a man of integrity. You can learn more about the music and ministry of this talented writer, singer, and instrumentalist at The Michael Card Official Web Site.

Jim Cole was our inaugural Featured Artist. Besides playing his Olson, Jim also performs with a Petros Guitar.

Perhaps best known as one of the distinctive vocal and guitar voices comprising the legendary lineups CSN and CSNY, David Crosby continues playing, writing, recording, and touring internationally in the trio Crosby/Pevar/Raymond (CPR) as well as with his longtime bandmate Graham Nash. A devoted fan and friend offered Crosby the gift of an Olson of his own design in 2003. He received it in May and immediately wrote Jim: "I played it for hours... it sings... it is a bell... so totally wonderful... absolutely amazing craftsmanship... I am in love...". Extensive information about Crosby's past and current musical activities can be found at the David Crosby and CPR web site. as well as at the Crosby and Nash page.

Chris Difford along with Glenn Tilbrook founded the ever popular British band Squeeze in the mid 70's. Together they wrote and composed all of the music for Squeeze. The duo were hailed as "the heirs to Lennon and McCartney's throne" during their peak of popularity in the early 1980's They continue to tour worldwide as the duo Difford and Tilbrook.

Brian Doerksen is one of today's premier worship songwriters and leaders. Winner of the Gospel Music Associations "International Award," Brian's first album with Integrity Music "You Shine" was recorded in Dublin Ireland and distributed to more than 170 countries. Some of Doerksen's songs include "Come, Now is the Time to Worship," and "Refiner's Fire." For tour information and complete Bio visit

Doyle Dykes owns two Olson Guitars. One cut-away and one non cut-away. Doyle has been an endorser and clinician with Taylor, Guild, and currently Godin Guitars. He is a finger-picker extraordinaire who I am proud to call my friend. Check out his lesson videos on the Olson cut-away below.

Michael Gungor is a Grammy nominated musician, singer, songwriter, author, and producer, who performs and writes with his wife Lisa in the band known as Gungor. Michael can be seen with an Olson Cedar topped Cut-away that he purchased more than 20 years ago. Check out the video "Beautiful Things" below. One of our favorite!

Justin Hayward is best known as the guitarist for the Moody Blues. Although he still tours with the Moody Blues, he also writes, records, and performs as a solo artist. Justin's Olson is prominently featured in his Justin Hayward Live in San Juan Capistrano video which you may have seen broadcast on your local PBS station. It is available from his web site where you'll also find video clips. You'll also see his Olson very much front-and-center in the Moody Blues Live at Redrocks, Colorado video.

Ric, a happy cedar-topped SJ owner, has played guitar with two other Olson owners of note, Phil Keaggy and David Wilcox. In fact, Ric produced Wilcox's Turning Point album. He also co-wrote and performs on "Soul Song" from Wilcox's What You Whispered album (as does Phil Keaggy). Ric was a founder of the group Over the Rhine, and has shared concert stages with such artists as Margaret Becker (that's him playing beside her on her Front Row video), Adrian Belew, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, the Indigo Girls, Bruce Cockburn, and Larry Norman--whoa!

Phil Keaggy is an amazing singer, songwriter, guitar player extraordinaire! He is a seven-time recipient of the GMA Dove Award for Instrumental Album of the Year, and was twice nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album. Phil bought is first Olson in 1983. A spruce topped SJ cut-away. He then ordered an SJ Cedar top cut-away. Delivered in 1984, this was the first Cedar top guitar ever produced by Olson Guitars.

Wes King is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who says of his contemporary Christian folk/pop songs, "I hope that this music serves to encourage those who listen to go to the Source". His web site is currently under construction. In the meantime you can find out more about him in a delightfully informal interview with him and Phil Keaggy titled Coffee Talk: Phil Keaggy and Wes King. Read carefully, and you'll find some playful comments about their Olson guitars! Click on this thumbnail photo of Wes to view a photo of him and Phil from the interview. Wes teamed up with Phil and fellow Olson player Scott Dente (from the duo Out of the Grey) to record an album featuring both instrumental and vocal performances on electric and acoustic instruments—Invention. You can glimpse their Olsons in the album artwork.

Wayne Kirkpatrick is probably best known in the music industry for his behind-the-scenes roles as a gifted songwriter and sideman. He has written dozens of songs performed by contemporary Christian music luminaries such as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, and Gary Chapman, for which he has taken home four Dove Awards. He won a Song of the Year Grammay Award in 1996 for "Change the World" (co-written with Gordon Kennedy and Tommy Simms), and has also garnered several BMI Pop Awards. In recent years he has also pursued a career as a solo artist, relying on an Olson guitar for much of his acoustic recording. In an interview for Christian Musician magazine's March/April 2000 issue, he explained: "I was introduced to the Olson by Phil Keaggy. He was doing a session for me on a Susan Ashton record. Of course anything he plays he makes sound good, but this guitar sounded great. So I asked him about it and he handed it to me. After playing it, I called James Olson and got one."

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James A. Olson Guitars | 11840 Sunset Avenue | Circle Pines, MN 55014
(763) 780-5301 | Fax: (763) 780-8513

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