Five years ago this month, I sat across a table at Starbucks at the Y from local musician JIM BOYD. He shared stories and talked about the local music scene, his label Thunderwolf Records and the process of creating his then-new album, Them Old Guitars. The article that followed our chat was my first for Out There Monthly.

In honor of that anniversary, I thought there no better way to celebrate than to drop Jim a line and see what he’s been up to for the last five years. It turns out, and should have come as no surprise to me in any way, that as one of the Spokane area’s most prolific musicians (THE most?), he’s been steadily at work. The last two years have seen the release of two very different albums, Voices from the Lakes, out on his own label, and more recently Harley High for Mega International Records.

Harley High, which can actually be test-driven (pardon the pun…) on Boyd’s MySpace, is a rock record that he says, “portrays my love for riding Harley Davidsons.” True to his word, that “Harley” tag runs throughout, and even re-writes Them Old Guitars-era track, “Highway High.” The album was recorded in Nashville with producer Doc Holiday and Grammy-winning engineer Bobby Bradley, and features a grab-bag of name-drop-worthy musicians (including the E Street Band’s Garry Tallent, alongside Craig Krampt, David Roe and Sandy Pippen).

On the opposite end of his musical spectrum, Voices from the Lakes is what Jim calls “more traditional,” and follows events pertaining to the history of the Lakes People (within the Confederacy of the Colville Tribes). It is his thirteenth full-length release as a solo artist, and was inspired by another of his projects, as facilitator for the Arrow Lakes Aboriginal Society.

There are also a handful of OTHER new recordings—lead guitar on the Wailers’ new take on “I Shot the Sheriff,” a vocal contribution to a song on Doug Kershaw’s next release, originally from Boyd’s Going to the Stick Games album, and new single “Indian Casino.”

“I love writing and recording,” Jim told me via e-mail. “I write constantly, even with all my other work, and I record all the time, even without the intention of releasing most of the songs I’m recording. I’m still not sure why that is.”

Setbacks aside (he briefly mentions the struggling economy taking a toll on the touring schedule), Jim continues to be a testament to the possibilities of a thriving music career with just the Spokane area as your backdrop. It’s good to see some things never change.

Jim Boyd and his band, which currently includes Alfonso Kolb on drums and Charlie Abrahamson on bass, hope to have local shows scheduled soon, and in the meantime most, if not all, Jim’s albums can be found online.

The first week of August, the Knitting Factory welcomes the return of local heroes BLACK HAPPY. Though I grew up in Spokane, the early-nineties-era band evaded my knowledge until I was berated one day by Bob Husak of Seattle’s the Blakes who spent a few years of his high school career in town and counted himself among the devotees. Apparently there are more… the Friday reunion show is SOLD OUT, but as of press time, tickets are still available for the Saturday, August 7 show for just $20 plus fees.

Also on the Knitting Factory’s agenda is TED NUGENT on August 29 about whom… I have pretty much nothing to say. Except this: I was shocked/appalled/horrified upon experiencing his opening set for KISS at the Gorge in 2000, so… I can’t imagine much has changed.

A highlight at EMPYREAN this month is LANGHORNE SLIM, who had to cancel his Sasquatch! Music Festival performance in May because he was stranded overseas. I once saw this fellow charm the pants off a crowd at the Troubadour and have been meaning to see him again ever since. Check him out on August 3.