JD Hutchison, Mimi Hart, John Borchard, Jimmy Smailes, Dave Borowski, Geoff Goodhue are Athens, Ohio's Realbilly Jive
J.D. Hutchison and John Borchard first met in 1969 in Athens, Ohio. Although they ran in the same musical circles (some say they’re still running in circles), their bands frequently sharing the bill and spending untold hours playing together with many musician friends at parties and potluck get-togethers, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that they actually started gigging as a duo. This was the beginning of Realbilly Jive. In time, John suggested they enlist the musical services of his Wingnuts band mates, Dave Borowski and Jim Smailes on bass and guitar. A bit later, a succession of drummers was added, with Geoff Goodhue being the longest tenured. Even a little farther down the road, long-time friend and musical collaborator, singer Mimi Hart, joined the band, producing the current lineup.
The members of Realbilly Jive bring together a wide range of musical influences, tastes, and experiences to form a singular and expressive whole. Blues, bluegrass, folk, country, R&B, ‘50s and ‘60s pop, Western swing, and Appalachian mountain music are apparent in their repertoire. When added to J.D.’s lyrical and musical sensibilities, the result is a unique amalgam and expression of a large swath of American music.
Jim Smailes – guitars
An Ohio native from the small town of Coshocton, Jim comes from a musical family, though with a limited exposure to country and the blues. He got serious about guitar when the Beatles hit – didn't everybody? With Hart and others, formed Hotcakes. Toured the East Coast with The Paula Lockheart Band. With Borowski and Borchard, performs in The Wingnuts, a band celebrating 30 years in 2016. Jim enjoys and is proficient in a variety of musical styles. He moved to Athens, Ohio, for the first time in 1969, kept coming back between travels and is now here to stay.
Geoff Goodhue – percussion
Now living in Vermont, he is the drummer for the Vermont Vaudeville house band, Granite Junction, The Can-Am Jazz Band and the mandolinist/vocalist of Beg, Steal or Borrow, a tribute to Old and in the Way. Geoff has performed on Mountain Stage and collaborated with autoharp legend Bryan Bowers. His family outfit, The Goodhues’ Band will perform in June 2016 at the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering in Newport, PA.
John Borchard – guitar, pedal steel guitar, non-pedal steel guitar
In 53 years of playing guitar, John has performed in music communities across the country and Europe. He cut his teeth on blues and rock music as a teen in Chicago in the ‘60s and assimilated country and bluegrass influences upon moving to southeast Ohio. There he met Mimi, J.D., Jim, and Dave, playing in various groups with them and others. After short stints in the San Francisco Bay area and Boston music scenes, he spent 13 years further honing his craft in Austin, Texas, in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He now resides in Athens where he is elated to play music with this collection of life long friends.
Mimi Hart – harmonies
From a family of singers, Mimi jumped into performance at seven with her two older sisters, Georgia and Anne, who taught her some guitar chords. She played her way into folk music, arriving in Athens in 1967 where she, Borchard, and others formed Bruce and Mimi and Friends; sang throughout the northeast and NYC with the Paula Lockheart Band and returned to Athens to join Smailes in Hotcakes. She also toured with The Bopcats, sang backup with The David Bromberg Band and recorded and toured with The Allman Brothers Band. Her group, The Local Girls, plays regularly and has performed at the White House and on NPR’s Prairie Home Companion.
Dave Borowski – bass and vocals
Dave plays bass and sings with Realbilly Jive, providing harmony and is occasionally the featured vocalist on some of J.D.’s songs. He has recorded and performed regionally in jazz, swing, country, and blues bands since the mid-1970s, and also performs with J.D.’s nephew, mandolinist Zeke Hutchison. He is a founding member of the Cleveland-based blues band, Aces and Eights, and Athens' premier roots rock band The Wingnuts, which also features Borchard and Smailes.
JD Hutchison -
Read more about JD on this page.