Christian Musician May 2004
"Learning and Unlearning"
"Armed with a new producer, a refined sound and a new perspective on how his art should reflect a life lived under the gaze of Christ, Jim Cole releases his first new music in many a moon with Learning and Unlearning a lovely folk-inflected record that revels in simplicity yet communicates in a relevant and deeply affecting manner. Amidst a bed of acoustic instrumentation, Cole achieves his most personal statement ever. While not totally abandoning songs that are more church directed, Cole writes lyrics with an eye focused on life's joys, pitfalls and mundane moments seen from a faith-based perspective. Songs such as Taunia Lea, Road Song Missing Part Stained Glass Window and Learning and Unlearning go deep into the recesses of human existence, relating a balanced view of a believer's journey from broken-ness to redemption. A nice version of the Curtis Mayfield classic People Get Ready displays a here-to-fore unheard soulful side to Cole's easy vocal style, likely to diminish (thankfully) the endless references to James Taylor that have plagued him throughout his career. Producer Ed Cash has assembled an accomplished cast of musicians who provide an empathetic backing that steer Cole's compositions toward a wonderfully realized amalgam of folk and Americana. Garret Buell (Caedmon's Call), Ben Shive (Andrew Peterson) and Byron House (Julie & Buddy Miller) contribute sublime moments that push Learning and Unlearning dimensions past conventional folk-pop records. Far removed from the rather market-driven pop sound and one dimensional focus of his past recordings, Learning and Unlearning finds Jim Cole an artist with much to say and a delightfully engaging way to say it.
Jim Coles ability to take a principle and weave its biblical truth into our present lives is a rare talent. He is an incredibly gifted musician and producer, yet he models a gentle spirit of humility. Jim has a unique (and all too scarce) blend of musical and lyrical talent, rolled into a servants heart.
WRMB-FM Moody Broadcasting
Boynton Beach, FL
Jim Cole is an incredibly talented man, but what impresses me is how very easy it is to see his heart in his songs and the joy of the Lord in his speech. He is a great example for Christianity because for Jim, being a Christian is fun. He is very refreshing as a musician, performer, and follower of Christ.
Producer, ACTS/Family Network
Fort Worth, TX
This is polished, finely tuned and crafted acoustic music. It is music for the soul that calms and soothes.
Christian Research Report
Jim Cole is a favorite of our listeners. I think they sense his realness
. He has been where they are. His ministry arises out of real life, and it shows. He is a gifted musician, and the impact he has on our listeners in a live setting is remarkable.
General Manager, WHMK
Jim Cole is a gifted artist. He has a desire to edify the body of Christ and he also knows how to have fun. He easily brings this to the audience with clear lyrics and a Christ-centered attitude about what he is doing.
General Manager, WMIT
Black Mountain, NC
The title track of his debut album tells us what Jim Cole is all about. Reminiscing about stories his grandmother told him, looking back at his own turbulent youth in the sixties and pondering relationships today, Jim points to each generations need for the Father. A fine singer-songwriter.