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Nacogdoches, Texas is one of those places that lives on throughout country entertainment due to what some of its natives have brought to country music. There are some acts that live their entire lives, though, singing their entire career in and around the great State of Texas. Jim Collins could have been one of those great artists that just lived out his entire performing career in front of the fun and appreciative audiences of Texas. Lord knows, the folks in Texas probably would have loved to keep him down there as their little secret. But, as is the case for many up and coming country artists, the itch to try their own sound in Music City becomes an itch they can't scratch from the safety of their home audiences. Jim put it a little differently: "I got tired of being judged by how many beers I sold that night as opposed to whether I sang good or put on a good show."

Jim's amazing career started before he left the safety of high school. He started playing the Texas club circuit showing many of the tried and true artists in that end of the business he was there to learn a lot, and maybe show more than a few people he could perform with confidence in front of those rowdy Texas audiences. Jim also has the unique ability to learn any instrument quickly with little or no prior experience with the instrument in question. The next step for Jim after this was working as a session musician in Houston during the day, while playing Houston clubs at night. Jim also released 6 different records, all financed with his own money. With the kind of success he had in front of Lone Star audiences, it was no surprise each release seemed to do better than the previous one. This led to one of the decision makers at Arista Nashville to sign Jim to a record deal. But with the singing success Jim has had in the past, Arista is betting on a sure thing when it comes to Jim's future success.
Jim's first CD entitled 'The Next Step' shows more than a few different musical influences on Jim's writing style. Jim admits to being influenced by the greats in country, like Merle Haggard. But he also admits to letting the musical strains of such pop acts like Grand Funk Railroad give his music a little different flavor. All of these influences are shown in the songs on this CD. Two of the songs, Two Hearts Never Break Even and My First, Last One and Only were actually cowritten by Jim. Also worthy of mention is the first single off this CD, which is the title track cowritten by one of Music City's songwriting marvels, Marcus Hummon. To sum up: the money spent on this CD is definitely an investment in country music listening pleasure!