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Jim Neversink
Neversink performing at Mojo, Copenhagen, February 2010
Neversink performing at Mojo, Copenhagen, February 2010
Background information
Birth nameMichael James Whitehead
Born (1969-06-16) 16 June 1969 (age 51)
Durban, Natal, South Africa
GenresIndie rock, Americana, country, alternative country, punk
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
Years active1990–present
LabelsEnt Entertainment; Radio Lava
Associated actsFamous Curtain Trick

Jim Neversink (born Michael James Whitehead; 16 June 1969) is a South African musician, singer and songwriter. His musical style spans over indie rock, country, americana and punk.

He is best known as a solo artist who performs with changing line-ups. As such, he has released three albums to critical acclaim; despite being released on independent labels, two of them were included in lists of best album of the year in South African magazines as well as in Billboard. Three South African newspapers also listed Neversink albums among their albums of the decade.

Before he went solo, Neversink was the co-founder and lead guitarist of Famous Curtain Trick, a country/pop/rock band which rose to mainstream popularity in South Africa in the 1990s and was nominated for a SAMA Award.

His most notable instrument is the guitar, including a home-built lap steel guitar.[1]

Childhood and early youth

Neversink was born in Durban on 16 June 1969.[2][3] Growing up in Durban, he would listen to jazz, blues and country at home;[2][4] he took up the guitar at the age of eighteen.[4]

1990's: Early career

Famous Curtain Trick

In the early nineties, Neversink and Nadine Raal founded the pop-rock-country band Famous Curtain Trick, which performed songs written mainly by Neversink and Raal. The band consisted of lead singer/guitarist Raal, Neversink on guitar, lap steel and backing vocals, Garth Johnstone, later Duncan Smith on bass, and in the early stages Kevin O'Grady, then Warren Peddie, later Craig Nash on drums.

They released Famous Curtain Trick (EMI, 1995; produced by Neill Solomon) and Land of no Cadillacs (Universal, 1996; produced by Dave Birch, front man of Squeal, previously guitarist of The Camera Club), nominated for a South African Music Award in the category "Best Pop Album".[5]

Live performances included the music festivals Splashy Fen (1995, 1997, 1999),[6] Wingerdstok (1997),[7] Oppikoppi (1997), Southern Cross Folk & Rock Festival (2000)[8] as well as opening for Roxette in Durban (1995) and touring South Africa with Bryan Adams (1999).[2][9] In 2000, the band split up.

Other collaborations

For a while, Neversink formed part of the alternative country/lo-fi rock band Lilo. He appears on bass on the band's first album Light me up a Lucifer (2002). Other members were, at the time, Alexander Sudheim, Graeme Barnes and Dean Henning.[3][10]

He appears on lap steel on "Calling" off Syd Kitchen's album Africa's not for sissies (2001).[11]


Jim Neversink
Studio album by
Jim Neversink
GenreIndie rock, americana, alternative country, punk
LabelEnt Entertainment
ProducerMatthew Fink

In 2001, Neversink moved to Johannesburg and began using the artistic name Jim Neversink.[2][12]

Jim Neversink (Ent Entertainment 2005)

Neversink's self-titled solo debut album was produced by Matthew Fink. Recorded partly under primitive circumstances in Neversink's bedroom,[2] it was nominated "Album of the Year" by The Star, pronouncing it "a masterpiece that will no doubt stand the test of time".[13] Beeld listed it among the "Top-Ten Albums" of the year,[14] and, at the turn of the decade, included it in a list of South African albums of the decade.[15] had it on their five-item list of "South African releases of the year", giving it five stars out of five.[16] Their review, which likewise referred to the album as a "South African masterpiece", awarded it five stars out of five, remarking that "Neversink and Matthew Fink have produced a benchmark album, seemingly out of nowhere."[17]

The CD has Jim Neversink on voice, guitar, lap steel, piano and harmonica, Matthew Fink on accordion and guitar and Katherine Hunt on bass, violin and backing vocals. Two tracks feature Paul "Roach" Cochrane on bass and Ashton Nyte on lead guitar.[18]

Shakey is Good (Radio Lava, 2008)

Shakey is Good
Studio album by
Jim Neversink
GenreIndie rock, americana, alternative country, punk
LabelEnt Entertainment
ProducerMatthew Fink
Jim Neversink chronology
Jim Neversink
Shakey is Good

A second album, with Fink, Hunt and now Warrick Poultney on drums, and produced by Fink, likewise earned critics' acclaim: it came in as No. 2 on The Times' international "Top 20 albums" of 2008;[19] Billboard's South African correspondent placed it as no 6 on her international list of "2008 Billboard Critics Top 10s";[20] placed it as no 1 on their top-10 "South African albums of the year".[21] The Times and Mail & Guardian included it in its listings of "albums of the decade".[22][23] awarded it five out of five stars.[24]

Live performances

Live appearances with the Fink/Hunt/Poultney line-up included performing at the London Forum as support act for Sixto Rodriguez (2005)[2] and at the Oppikoppi festival (2006),[25] the White Mountain Folk Festival (2006)[26][27] and the Splashy Fen (2007).[6]

Other collaborations

Television actor and singer Emmanuel Castis performs one of Neversink's songs, "Stay", on South of Nowhere (Next Music (Pty) Ltd, 2008). The song "Mail Order Russian Bride" (off Jim Neversink) is included on Southern Gems – 18 Flawless Tracks from SA Stars (Sheer Sound, 2007). "Monkey" off Shakey Is Good is included in Beginner's Guide to South Africa (Nascente, 2010).[28]

Neversink contributes backing vocal and slide guitar on the song "Stranger" by Laurie Levine (Unspoken: Beyond The Box Music, 2006) as well as backing vocal on her song "Scrambling" (Living Room: Beyond The Box Music, 2009).

He contributes slide-guitar on the song "Son" on Radio Kalahari Orkes's 2009 CD Heuningland.[29]


Skinny Girls Are Trouble
Studio album by
Jim Neversink
GenreIndie rock, americana, alternative country, punk
LabelOne F
ProducerRichard Lloyd
Jim Neversink chronology
Shakey Is Good
Skinny Girls Are Trouble

Skinny Girls Are Trouble (One F, 2010)

2010 saw Neversink relocating to Copenhagen, Denmark and releasing his third album, Skinny Girls Are Trouble.[30]

Shortly after the launch of Shakey is Good, he had begun to perform with Loandi Boersma (bass) and Kevin O'Grady (drums) and various guest performers. This is also the line-up of the third album which has guest performances from Rian Malan, Lani Pieters and Timon Wapenaar.[31]

The album was produced in Johannesburg and New York by Richard Lloyd, former member of the new wave/punk rock band Television, and engineered, mixed and mastered by Peter Pearlson.[32][33][34][35][36] An internet blog was set up to document the pre-production and recording processes.[31]

Released in September 2010, Skinny Girls Are Trouble has so far only been reviewed by the Mail & Guardian which called it "arguably Neversink's finest hour and easily one of the best South African albums released in 2010"[37] and also included in a list of "10 South African songs that rocked my world in 2010".[30]

Copenhagen Collaborations

Jim Neversink Børneteater October 2013
Jim Neversink Børneteater October 2013

Neversink has formed a new band for Jim Neversink in Copenhagen, while playing a number of guest spots at live concerts, playing guitar and lapsteel with a number of local acts, including Gutten & Gutten[38] and the 'bluegaze' group Me After You.[39]

In 2014 he became a founding member of Frederiksberg Country Club, a local scene for live experimental music of all genres.[40]

Other collaborations and activities

In 2013, Neversink wrote the score for Durban Poison, a crime/love story by South African film director Andrew Worsdale,[41] that won 'Best South African Feature Film' at the 34th Durban International Film Festival in July 2013.[42]

Neversink's score, noted as 'hypnotic' by one reviewer,[43] was given a special jury award in the "Long Narratives competition" at the 3rd Luxor African Film Festival in 2014.[44][45]

In 2015 he contributed a rendition of Afrikaans poet Ingrid Jonker's ‘Bitterbessie dagbreek’ to the compilation CD "Die kind is nog jonger".[46]


Neversink's lyrics have been the subject of special acclaim; the Mail & Guardian, upon the release of Shakey is Good, pronounced him "one of the finest songwriters in South Africa".[47] The Star justified a no-1 placement on a best-albums list by referring to "the raw emotion, the intelligent songwriting which he has crafted beautifully";[13] and The Times remarked: "No one comes close to Jim Neversink in making observations about the small details of living in South African towns sound so cinematic (...) Neversink’s off-kilter way of looking at society’s damaged things stands alone."[19] speaks of "moments of Sparklehorse brilliance, and (...) a Jim White feel to the strange tales of peri-urban paranoia and quixotic questing."[24]

Love, together with death and longing for life on the other side, are recurring themes on both albums;[2][48] the angle is often darkly romantic, occasionally humorous and defiant.[2][12] Some songs would appear to be personal and autobiographical; thus, "Always dreaming about you" and "Angel" (off Jim Neversink), the former dedicated to his late father, the latter to an ex-girlfriend.[2][12] Others, like "Monkey" (off Shakey Is Good) or "Transfer to Harding" (off Jim Neversink), are narrative-driven ballads about life's outsiders. Similarly, "Ride, Ride Ride" (off Jim Neversink) was written with bank-robber Andre Stander in mind;[2][48] the title of "Even Elizabeth Klarer" (off Shakey Is Good) refers to a famous alien abductee, and the protagonist of "Klackerty Kate" is a statuette of a disabled girl, placed in supermarkets to collect funds for Polio research.[19]

Neversink sings in South African English, his mother tongue.[48] As can be seen from the examples mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the songs contain many references to life in South Africa. Additional examples (all from Skinny Girls are Trouble) are: in "Hope", the protagonist, a young girl, jumps off Van Stadens Bridge, known to attract suicidals; Emmarentia Dam which sets the scene for "Tambourine" is a recreative area in Johannesburg; and Steve Hofmeyr mentioned in "Durban City Hall" is a popular singer of Afrikaans pop.

Influences and musical style

Whereas some journalists have dubbed Neversink "a modern-day Johnny Cash"[19] and "SA's answer to Johnny Cash",[49] others place him in the vicinity of Chris Isaak, the Jayhawks, Wilco and Calexico[17] and detect influences from Lead Belly and Loretta Lynn.[17] He himself has labelled his music "loserbilly".[2][24][47] He has expressed his admiration for artists and bands as Lou Reed, The Beach Boys, The Band, Hank Williams, Emmylou Harris,[49] Harry Nilsson, The Beatles,[4] The Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons and Slim Whitman.[50][51] The song "Always Dreaming of You" (off Jim Neversink) contains a reference to Slim Whitman and quotes his hit "Rose Marie". The word "Shakey" in the title of his second album is, partly, a reference to Neil Young's pseudonym, Bernard Shakey.[52]

Jim Neversink playing live with Matthew Fink on accordion, Warrick Poultney on drums and Katherine Hunt on violin. Cellardoor Live, Johannesburg 2007.
Jim Neversink playing live with Matthew Fink on accordion, Warrick Poultney on drums and Katherine Hunt on violin. Cellardoor Live, Johannesburg 2007.


  1. ^ "Jim Neversink – Loserbilly Rock Sensation and Illogical Genius". Retrieved 28 May 2010.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k de Vries, Fred (2008). The Fred de Vries Interviews – From Abdullah to Zille. Wits University Press. p. 325. ISBN 978-1-86814-469-3.
  3. ^ a b Chislett, David (29 January 2007). "Don't sink, swim". The Chiz. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Moshatama, Benjamin (22 February 2009). "Things are looking up". The Times. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  5. ^ "The 6th FNB SAMA (South African Music Awards)". Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  6. ^ a b "Splashy Fen Artists & Performers – 1990 to 2008". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  7. ^ Waterman, Chippie. "Wingerdstok '97, Groot Drakenstein Sports Club, Franschhoek, 21 and 22 February 1997 reviewed by Chippie Waterman". The Chippie Files. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  8. ^ "Southern Cross Folk & Rock Festival – March 24 – 26, 2000". SA Rock Digest issue 48. 3 March 2000. Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  9. ^ Power Pencil (6 May 1999). "Durban band Famous Curtain Trick will be the support act on Bryan Adams 2nd S.A. tour". Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  10. ^ "3rd ear news". SA Rock Digest issue 144. 24 February 2002. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  11. ^ "Syd Kitchen – Africa's Not For Sissies". Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  12. ^ a b c Laing, Robert (19 November 2006). "The indomitable Jim Neversink". The Times. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  13. ^ a b Owen, Therese (13 December 2006). "The good, the bad, the sad, the sorry". The Star. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  14. ^ Marais, Danie (12 January 2007). "Die rock-albums van die jaar". Beeld. Archived from the original on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
  15. ^ "Albums_van_die_dekade". Beeld. 13 January 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  16. ^ "Top SA acts of 2006". 27 December 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  17. ^ a b c Marshall, Anton. "Jim Neversink – Jim Neversink". Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  18. ^ Jim Neversink CD liner notes.
  19. ^ a b c d "Top 20 albums". The Times' Magazine. 21 December 2008. Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  20. ^ "2008 Billboard Critics Top 10s". Billboard. Retrieved 17 October 2009.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Gedye, Lloyd (18 December 2008). "South African Albums of the year". Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  22. ^ Gedye, Lloyd (23 December 2009). "mzansis-groove". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  23. ^ Coetzer, Diane (14 February 2010). "Albums of the decade". Times Live. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  24. ^ a b c Roper, Chris (21 December 2008). "Jim Neversink – Shakey is good". Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  25. ^ "Download MP3s, get details and book". Retrieved 28 August 2009.[dead link]
  26. ^ "White Mountain Folk Festival Marquee 2006". Retrieved 14 September 2009.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ Gedye, Lloyd (29 September 2006). "White Mountain festival too white". Retrieved 28 August 2009.
  28. ^ For info, see Nascente – Demon Music Group[permanent dead link].
  29. ^ Engelbrecht, Theunis (28 November 2009). "Die Souties wat 'n seties laat swing". Rapport (coml). Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  30. ^ a b Gedye, Lloyd (21 December 2010). "10 South African songs that rocked my world in 2010". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  31. ^ a b "Skinny Girls Pre-Production". March 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  32. ^ Pearlson is an award-winning engineer and producer linked to the Forest Studios, Downtown Studios, and SABC Studios: "Peter Pearlson". discogs. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  33. ^ de Vries, Fred (23 March 2009). "De Messias". De groene Amsterdammer. Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  34. ^ Gedye, Lloyd. "Jim Neversink and Richard Lloyd". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  35. ^ Monsoon, Jon. "Jim Neversink turns on TV". Muse Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 June 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  36. ^ Sudheim, Alexander. "Jim Neversink in Durban". Mail & Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  37. ^ Gedye, Lloyd (8 October 2010). "African-American". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  38. ^ "GUTTEN OG GUTTEN | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos". Myspace. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  39. ^ "ME AFTER YOU". Retrieved 17 September 2018.[non-primary source needed]
  40. ^ Schultz, Ghita (September 2014). "Frederiksberg får sin første country club". Lokalavisen Frederiksberg. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  41. ^ Smith, Tymon (20 July 2013). "Twenty-Steven years". Times Live. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  42. ^ "Durban Poison wins best SA film at DIFF". ECR. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  43. ^ "Twenty-seven years". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  44. ^ "LAFF – Awards". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  45. ^ "Third edition of Luxor African Film Fest closes with Egypt winning four awards – Film – Arts & Culture – Ahram Online". Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  46. ^ Archived 24 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  47. ^ a b Gedye, Lloyd (15 June 2008). "A perfect accompaniment to wallowing. M&G reviewers listen to five new CD releases". The Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  48. ^ a b c Angola Badprop (29 May 2006). "'Witman' se blues is donker". Beeld. Archived from the original on 3 July 2011. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  49. ^ a b Rayner, Caro (3 May 2009). "My timeless classic. Music & Me". The Times. Retrieved 29 August 2009.
  50. ^ Fink is a producer, sound engineer and musician also known from his work with The Sick-Leaves, the City Bowl Misers, Laurie Levine and Steve Hofmeyr among others: Gedye, Lloyd (27 June 2006). "Quiet is the new loud: The Nu Folk Festival is set to thrust local alt-country stars into the limelight". Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  51. ^ Constant, Michelle (July 2006). "Jim Neversink". GQ (South Africa): 68.
  52. ^ Commercial blurb accompanying the CD,

External links

This page was last edited on 29 November 2020, at 11:16
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