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Book Review: Tuned In
Jim Wilson
Cover image of the product Tuned In by Jim Wilson
Tuned In
Jim Wilson
2023 / Willow Bay Media
Available in hardback, paperback and download.
Review by Kathy Parsons
True confession time! When I learned that Jim Wilson was getting ready to release his book, Tuned In, I offered to help him promote it with a review and possibly an interview for MainlyPiano.com. Little fish in a big pond that I am, my jaw literally dropped to the floor when the book arrived with its 5 1/2 pages of endorsements from many of the biggest names in the entertainment world! In addition to releasing several successful albums, I knew that Jim has been a piano tuner/technician in the Los Angeles area for quite a few years, but I had absolutely no idea that his client list included the likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John and Chick Corea (to name a few) or that he had been instrumental (pun intended!) in developing a MIDI-adaptor for acoustic pianos in the mid-1980s, traveling the world installing them and showing artists how to use them.

I've been writing music reviews and doing interviews with artists since the early 1990s, and have reviewed some of Jim's more recent music, but fellow-reviewer Michael Debbage was already in contact with Jim when he joined MainlyPiano.com, so I left it to him to cover Jim's releases for quite a few years. My loss, but I plan to catch up! Jim and I have been in contact for the past several years and I thoroughly enjoy both his music and working with him, but, again, I had no idea about all of the things he has done!

The most enjoyable book I've read in quite awhile, Tuned In is a fascinating memoir that dates back to when Jim was about seven years old and was gifted a guitar by a friend of his mother's, planting the seeds for what would become a lifelong passion for music. The memoir doesn't always move in chronological order, but Jim describes many of the highs and lows of his life as well as some of the inspirations and disappointments that affected him most. We as readers are also treated to stories about Jim's encounters with some of the biggest names in music - which often began as service calls to work on their pianos - and the friendships and working relationships that developed from there. These fascinating stories and anecdotes should resonate with many people - and not just musicians.

Tuned In is really much more than an autobiography. Jim reveals some of his self-doubts as well as some of the more challenging events in his life, and then explains what he did to overcome them so he could move on. Many times, I found myself truly inspired by Jim's candor and clarity as well as his humor and honesty. Many of the stories told within the book are really funny, but Jim is also very open about painful moments and the ways he dealt with them, dusted himself off and moved ahead.

On a personal level, I was particularly interested in reading about how Jim coped (and copes) with sometimes crippling stage fright, as that is why I was an art major rather than a music major in college. (I could only imagine the stress of having to perform in classes on a regular basis, and I just didn't want to deal with it.) Over the years, Jim has found ways to cope with and tame those demons and shares them very candidly. I'm sure this will help many aspiring performers!

What a fascinating journey Jim Wilson has had so far, and I'm so glad he decided to share his story! Tuned In is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble and other online booksellers and other bookstores. Tuned In is truly one of the best autobiographies I have read (twice!) and I very highly recommend it!
March 15, 2024