Singer/songwriter Jim Colbert first played his songs in public two days before his fortieth birthday… garnering a standing ovation from a boisterous Bellefonte bar crowd. First a regular at Jon Gabala’s Hootenannies at Daniels in the Bush House in Bellefonte, Colbert has since played venues from Massachusetts to Texas, including Court House Concerts (Merrick, NY), First Night State College, Summer's Best Music Festival, Lois & Greg's House Concerts (Belvidere, NJ), The Acoustic Brew Concert Series, Susquehanna Folk Music Society (Fort Hunter Barn, Harrisburg), Smoked Country Jam, The Boiler Room (Sherman, TX), guerrilla showcases at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (Kerhonskon, NY) and more.
Colbert has shared the stage with nationally-recognized artists such as Joe Crookston, Red Molly, Deirdre Flint, Small Potatoes, Pat Wictor, Cheryl Prashker, Jud Caswell, Danny Schmidt, Dave Potts and Marc Douglas Berardo. Jim’s work has been featured on WPSU-fm's Take Note, as well as Americana in Paris and Sisyphus Tracks radio webcasts, with his song Pale Green Eyes being included on the final Americana in Paris “Best of show.” Performing originals with subject matter ranging from playwright Eugene O’Neill, Centralia's mine fire, vintage Triumph motorcycles and old Buicks to a host of selections about his home town of Johnstown, including her floods and the demise of her steel industry, Colbert’s songs offer an cross section of Americana seen through the eyes of a life-long Pennsylvanian. In November 2007 Colbert took place in the Susquehanna Folk Music Society Songwriting Competition. In June 2008, Jim again garnered first place honors, this time in the first Pennsylvania Heritage Songwriting Competition, and performed on the mainstage at Smoked Country jam. His work has drawn praise from peers including John Platt from WFUV; Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist winners Red Molly and Pat Wictor; Texas songwriting legend Eric Taylor; the patriarch of Chicago folk scene, Art Thieme; blues virtuoso Scott Ainslie; Sue Demel (Sons of the Never Wrong); Darryl Purpose, and Michael Kornfeld of Acoustic Music Scene. For six years, he hosted a monthly open mic event in Bellefonte, an event which welcomed both seasoned performers and neophytes and made monthly donations to local charities. Jim also ran the popular singer/songwriter showcases as part of Wordstock during the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts ™ for several years. He has since expanded his musical contributions to the community as a member of the Acoustic Brew Concert Series Board of Directors, handling publicity and design; by becoming a volunteer disc jockey and librarian for the Folk Show on WPSU-fm; and by coordinating acoustic music for First Thursdays State College. Colbert has taught songwriting, Pennsylvania songs, and the Life and Songs of the Carter Family at festivals and events including Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts™, First Night® State College, Hickory Fest, Generoo Guitar Workshops, Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering, The Music Academy, and in his own annual series funded by the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and Bellefonte Borough, Bellefonte Unplugged. He is also active behind the scenes at Folk College, with the Huntingdon County Arts Council, Bellefonte Victorian Christmas, and numerous events in and around Bellefonte Borough.
When not pursuing his music, Colbert is an instructor and advisor in the Graphic Arts Program at South Hills School of Business & Technology and does freelance graphic design and copywriting from his home in Bellefonte.