Skip to main content

‘Liberty James’ to premiere at Honor365 gala

May 12, 2022 10:57AM ● By Tom Haraldsen
For Jim Wells, combining his love of music with his passion about the United
States was easy. Now his efforts have created Liberty James, a musical group AND
experience that will be premiered at the Honor365 gala at Thanksgiving Point on
May 18. Bountiful’s Chris Simonsen will be honored at the event (see separate
story in this issue).

Wells grew up in the Los Angeles area – West Covina to be precise – but came to
Utah to attend BYU and moved back here years later.

“Los Angeles was a fun place to be when I was younger,” he said during an
interview from his home in Highland. “It was a safe place. I felt lucky because I
feel my generation threaded that needle of that era when we knew when we were
born and what we were born with. That has changed in California, and it’s one
reason I’m glad we live here now.”

He always loved music of the late 60s and early 70s – Creedence Clearwater, the
Doors, the Who, Led Zeppelin and the Doobie Brothers. He started taking guitar
lessons at 11, playing a “dilapidated guitar with very loose strings. It hurt a lot!”
By 1976, he started playing in a group at Bicentennial High School – the
Trojanaires. They got gigs up and down the California coast, but it was more of a
hobby than anything else.

A 20-plus year hiatus from music allowed him to do other things, including raising
a family, but the music bug never completely left him.

“I wrote a few songs – felt I’ve always been a pretty good writer and always been
an idea guy,” he said. “In 2012, I began playing some tunes – thank goodness I
recorded some little aspirations. In 2013, I was watching a Veterans Day program
on TV and they were talking to some veterans, and three words came to my mind,
‘one last salute.’ I wrote them down, and started to visualize these people who
have passed away or are passing away. That was the genesis for Liberty James and
what it has become today. I finally went into a studio in 2020.”

Liberty James is a musical tribute to those who’ve fought to defend our nation.
Wells knew he wanted to record and stay here in Utah, and he knew of the musical
talent, particularly in Utah Valley. He met up with Dave Zimmerman, the owner,
music producer and recording engineer with Noisebox Studios in Provo, “and we
were a great match. I began assembling my team – of musicians who really pour
their heart and soul into their work. We began recording and filming at many
locations which will be premiered at the Megaplex theatres at Thanksgiving Point
on May 18. To see the full version of these songs on the large screen is something
I’m very excited for.”

And among those songs will be “One Last Salute,” a tribute to the sacrifices of
those who’ve served to defend us, and for all they’ve given to us.

Following the Honor365 event, Liberty James will probably do four to six live
performances by year’s end, Wells said.

“They have to be in the right kind of venues, and every one of them will be for a
charitable cause,” he said. “We want to build and give awareness to local

To see some of Liberty James work and to meet the band, visit