Mon, Feb. 2 2009
This month has been one for the books. Ever since I completed the new album things have taken on a momentum I've never seen before...I'm not being willfully enigmatic, I just really can't say anything until these things play out. Believe me, if they do, it won't be hard to figure out what's up...and if they don't you can just write it off to "mindless prattle".
I just finished an interview for the "Choice Cuts" feature at Indie-Music.com. This is a great online magazine and indie music resource and it's a real honor to be selected.
Should be in the February edition.
Also received word that I was selected to perform at this year's Methodfest Film Festival! Methodfest is an amazing event featuring dozens of independent films from around the world. It's wall-to-wall creative people and not only will I be attending, I'll be performing! :^)
There's more coming....
Top 10 List!
Thu, Jan. 15 2009
Just got word that I was named in Folkworks Magazine's Top Ten Live Acoustic Male Singer-Songwriters in L.A. in 2008!
How cool is that?? :^)
What a night!
Thu, Dec. 18 2008
The L.A. area CD Release Party at The Guitar Merchant on the 14th was an evening I'll remember. It was both well-attended and well received. With all-too-short sets from my friends Brett Mikels, Sabrina and Craig, and Lisa Turner to start the night off, the folks in attendance were taken on a musical ride from "note one".
When we went on (This was a full-band performance of the album) the feel of the room was one of welcoming anticipation.
It would take a day to relate what the night was like with an audience like that and a band comprised of Lisa Turner providing stellar support vocals, Marcos Lopez-Iglesias on drums, Chad Watson on Bass and both Melinda Gibson and Craig Lincoln as multi-instrumentalists at large.
I almost hate to say it, but if you were there, you know....and if not? Well...you were missed! :^)
So the album the show was presenting is NOW AVAILABLE!!
(Fanfare of trumpets here!)
Just go to the "music" page over there on the left and listen to some clips and then buy a couple copies for you and your friends!
Sat, Dec. 13 2008
I'm very pleased to announce that the new album "Tempest in a teacup" is finished and available!!
The songs on this album are the result of mixture of personal experience and unbridled imagination. And as the folks that know me might expect, it covers a great deal of musical territory. I really felt it was necessary to do so in order to capture the essence of each song...that's what the recording process is for me. It's not only my opportunity to make what I hear in my "noggin" audible to other people's ears, it's also my responsibility to make certain each track is kept true to the song itself. Each one means a great deal to me, and I take that responsibility to heart.
Bottom line? There's definitely very little danger of being "pigeonholed" with this one you guys...This collection of songs will probably have some folks scratching their heads wondering what to call this "style" of music...To me, it's simply "what I do".
I do hope you like what you hear.
Wed, Nov. 5 2008
First off, congratulations U.S.A.! Once again we live in a country filled with hope!.. :^)
A lot has happened in the over the last month and there's more coming. First off, the biggest news of all is that the new album "Tempest in a teacup" is at the manufacturing plant and should be done in a few weeks. It's been an incredible experience making this record and I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out. Album pre-orders and donations have accounted for a substantial portion of production costs and though they're still welcome, it won't be possible to include the names of patrons that that donated after October 15th on the album booklet. (That's when the artwork was finalized) but all other benefits hold.
I just returned from a week-long tour to Arizona which included the FAR-West conference (That's an acronym for "Folk Alliance Region - West"). This is a yearly event at which 400 or so performers, presenters, agents, House Concert hosts, and generally interested parties gather to meet, network, hear one another perform, and just be with like-minded people for a couple days. An inspiring weekend that was!
Later in the week I had a few shows in the Phoenix area - Weds; A live taping for KPNX-TV Channel 12, Thursday; a coffeehouse show; Friday; a show at Fiddler's Dream (a long-standing acoustic concert venue) and then on Saturday a House Concert at Angel's Serenity in Scottsdale...that constitutes a pretty good week in my book :^)
News just arrived that my album "The Sun and the Moon" has been charting on the Roots Music Charts. I had no idea this was going on but apparently it's been doing so for quite some time!
Back to L.A.
Sat, Oct. 4 2008
Just getting back from a five-week tour through the northwest...should be home tonight. It's always kind of poignant when a tour ends. Each one has it's own dynamic with the shows, the people, the new places, and the lessons learned.
There are significant events on the horizon. There's a show at Hallenbeck's in North Hollywood coming up on October 18th. This time the songs from the new album will be performed with a band!
There will be solo performances from Brett Mikels, Sabrina and Craig, and Lisa Turner, and then these folks (and ohers that are on the record) will help perform the songs from "Tempest in a teacup".
The show is being produced by David Harvey and is intended as a fund-raiser to complete manufacturing of the new album in time for a mid-December release.
If you're in the area and would like to attend (very limited seating!) get in touch through the website.
Be well, laugh often!
The end of the U.K. tour '08
Fri, Aug. 22 2008
The adventure continued in England as good friend and staunch supporter Garry Simmonds and I raced up to Cambridge for the final shows of the tour. First came a live interview on BBC Cambridge with Sue Marchant. Sue is a true champion for live music and one of the best interviewers it been my pleasure work with...But mostly she makes just you feel as though you've been friends for a lifetime! :^)
After the interview it was off to the show at "The Bun Shop". I have to confess when I first heard the name of the venue I had visions of doughnuts and the like...I couldn't have been further from the mark. The bun Shop is a pub that has a nice selection of ales, a very pleasant menu, and a seperate room for the shows...very nice.
The show opened with our host Bernard Hoskin performing a set of his original neo-traditional folk to an appreciative audience. The next performer rapidly became a favorite of mine during this trip to Enland. Clara Kousah delivered a spellbinding performance to a silently attentive audience. Imagination + inspiration + groove = Clara.
Then I performed set of material from the two prior albums and the new one "Tempest in a teacup"....you guys, I could very easily become addicted to the sort of reception I received at The bun Shop!
That was the final show but not the final event! A day later found Garry, me, and my friend and fellow troubadour James Partridge at the Peterborough Beer Festival!! Suffice it to say that our collective favorite, Crouch Vale Brewery's "Amarillo", won the award out of 500 or so entries.
What a way to finish a tour!! :^)
Next morning 5:am, off to Heathrow and into a jet-powered sardine can for 10 1/2 hours. I saw "Iron man" in it's entirety for the second time, and the end of the same movie three additional times.
Mon, Aug. 18 2008
Once the smoke cleared from the excitement at Heathrow things got underway in good order. The first show was at The Kelvedon Institute, which is a small theatre in the town of Kelvedon. I was still reeling from jet-lag but once I got my guitar in my hands everything was just fine. The sound was impeccable and the audience was attentive. Great start to a tour. The evening started with a trio led by keyboard-playing composer/songwriter Tony T. Their set was reminiscent of many of my favorite prog/rock acts. The next performer was a young woman by the name of Clara Kousah (myspace her). She has an engaging and personal songwriting style that i really enjoyed.
The next show was in London at the Roebuck. It's a series called The Great Indoors and that was one heck of a night, with performers ranging from intimate singer/songwriters to a quirky off-center combo that was based around an old electric harmonium.
Then in Southwest London came the show at The Bedford. Another inspiring night, and I think I'll be staying in touch with some of the people I met that night.
Following the Bedford show I met up with my friend James Partridge (myspace.com/songsfromthebluehouse ) and we drove up to Norwich for a show at The Fox and Hounds. This is a brew-pub on the seaside that has a friendly atmosphere and wonderful hosts (Mark and Marie). A really great time was had.
Next day we drove to the Littlebury Festival where James' band Songs from the Blue House was one of the featured acts (myspace.com/songsfrom the bluehouse ). It was great to hear them perform live. Great vocals, cool songs, very musical arrangements.
More to come but I've got to get ready for a show.
Adventures in England
Sat, Aug. 9 2008
Got to Wednesday at 9:am. Went to immigration operating under the impression that there might be one small detail to iron out only to find that it's a bit more serious than that. No work visa, no entry, no way! The immigration agent went outside the lines and tried to get in touch with the promoter....Wrong number. They pull me aside and say "it doesn't look good". They tell me that there's no way a Work Visa can be issued within a week.....and that would be Fast-Tracking it. It looks as thought we'll be putting you on the next plane back to Los Angeles. While I'm being detained, photographed, and fingerprinted, the agent actually continues his search both online and with The Home Office, giving me occasional updates - none of which are good. I'm being held in a large room with another guy that was detained from the States. We're both completely exhausted and without resources. Completely caught up in the system. It's a very disconcerting thing to have other people making decisions about your fate with no say in the matter. All of my contact info. my Passport, my bag, guitar, laptop, all of it is being held in some room elswhere and I have no means of contacting anyone. Finally, at about three o'clock, after six hours of very tense waiting and about fifteen minutes before they're going to put me on the plane, the agent (whose name is John) comes in and says "This is a VERY lucky day for you". After six hours of effort way beyond the call on his part, and a huge effort on the promoter's part, I left the holding cell with my guitar, bag, and a stamped visa in my Passport. Holy Cow, what a day! Cheers, James
Sat, May. 31 2008
Well here it is the last day of May. This tour has been one of the best ever is spite of the fact that both my car and laptop failed to complete the journey with me...ah well, both have given faithful service over the long haul but there's a limit to what any machine can do. Audiences all along the way have been very receptive to the songs from the new album. There's nothing quite like hearing someone humming a song you wrote as they leave a show...I mean really...How cool is that?? I just received word the my song "You and me" from my album The Sun and the Moon was recently added to the Playlist on the program Acoustic Cafe at www.boomerradio.com!
Wed, May. 7 2008
Well, I'm headed north again with shows in California, Oregon, and Washington and back. I'll be out until the first week of June. Then I'm back to Southern California to finish the new album!
The last two weeks before this tour began were intense! The results of the album pre-sale/patron letter were both inspiring and humbling! There were quite a number of contributions and that kept me cooking in the studio right up until midnight the night before I left.
Bottom line? Most of the tracking is finished (with a few exceptions) and mixing has begun. I'll get back in the studio when I get back to SoCal the first week of June and should be able to wrap it up then.
Gigantic thanks!...To all of my friends (and co-producers)that have contributed to making this album a reality!!
We're closing in on it.. :^)
New album Pre-sales!!
Wed, Apr. 23 2008
Here's the Patron Letter I sent out via the website recently. It tells a lot about what's been going on and what has me so excited :^)
I have some exciting news and a request to share. The new album, "Long way Down", is more than halfway finished. These songs are some of the best I've ever written and I can't wait for people to hear them on the radio. To make that happen I'll need help.
Since the decision was made to start production, I've watched this album almost take on a life of it's own. Wonderful developments have appeared all along the way. Obstacles have melted into nothingness, and beneficial circumstances have appeared at perfect times. The reaction I've received from the top musicians, recording engineers, and music industry professionals that have been in contact with the project has been overwhelmingly positive ( and deeply gratifying!)
Several times at shows people have quietly pulled me aside to hand me an envelope containing funds for recording. Substantial checks for the same purpose have appeared in my mailbox. Another came from a good friend who simply said "For the album, James".... So far to date, Patrons have donated a total of $3650 toward production costs...I simply can't describe what a blessing and inspiration this has been!
You can probably tell I'm very excited about this record. I think it's the most significant album I've ever done, both musically and in the effect it's had on my life. The goodwill and support it has generated have made the experience unlike anything I've ever been a part of.
Back in "the olden days", this is where a record label would fill the gap with production costs, promotional budget, and even tour support often totaling $150k or more....But there's no record label these days... just me... and a bunch of great songs that I can turn into a great new album with some help from you.
So far, the funds patrons have donated, combined with everything I've been able to generate through sales, shows, and whatever else I've been able think of have brought the album to this point, for which I'm deeply grateful.
At this point I estimate remaining recording and manufacturing will require $6k. And promotion, (which will continue throughout the summer) will easily account for an additional $10k -$15k. Not much for a record label, but pretty significant for one man with a guitar.....
So I'd like to invite you to be involved, a "co-producer" if you will, in something special;
!!PRE-ORDER your copy of "LONG WAY DOWN"!!
"Long way Down" PATRON PACKAGES: (All include free shipping)
Fri, Mar. 21 2008
There's a lot to report. Earlier this month I spent three days recording at a studio in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It's a brand new, top of the line, world class, "fantasy studio" called Icehouse Recorders. I recorded basic tracks for four of the songs there. Three new ones, and a re-track of "The Vampire song".
Then I raced back to southern California to record drums at Led Presley Studios . This has been the "home base" studio for the entire project. I did the initial sessions there and every time I record something while I'm on the road, I bring it back there to do the susequent work. This time it was to record drums. Chas, the engineer, has come up with an approach to recording drums that I really like. They're always very natural and "real" sounding . Which, oddly enough, is a very difficult thing to accomplish.
The drummer for the session was Marcos Lopez-Iglesias . Marcos is a wonderful performing songwriter in his own right and deserves a huge career for that alone...but it just so happens he's also an amazing drummer with an uncanny ability to "get" the song. It was truly startling to hear him play exactly what I heard in my head for these songs. If you're recording an album, you might want to do yourself a favor and click on that link up there :^)
After the drum sessions, fellow songwriter Brett Mikels brought his Laptop over here to "the shack" (World Headquarters for JamesHurleyMusic.com) and we recorded Elizabeth Riordan playing upright bass tracks for "Mushroom" and "The Vampire Song"....very cool.
Last night was another fun session. This time at James Lee Stanley's Beachwood Recording. I've long had an idea for the end of "Long way down" and that's what we did last night. With JLS at the controls and helping with arrangement, Craig Lincoln, Sabrina Schneppat, Brett Mikels, Melinda Gibson, and Lisa Turner, performed as a choir and turned yet another dream into reality....:^)
More recording tonight......
Sat, Feb. 16 2008
Wow, I got way behind on the news here. Hardly know where to begin so I better just hit a few highlights and move on. After a hiatus in recording I'm back to work and I'm very pleased with the tracks. Early renditions of several of the songs are on "The Road Roughs" so those of you that have a copy will be able to hear the evolution from sketch to finished song when the new album is released in April.
I participated in an International Songwriters Retreat up in Big Sur during the last week of January and it was an amazing and inspiring experience. Twenty songwriters from around the world co-writing and co-creating in the in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth.
Three tours coming up for 2008. The Northwest in April/May, the Southwest in June/July, and the U.K. and Netherlands in Aug/Sep.
I love my job! :^)
Back from the North
Fri, Nov. 16 2007
I just got back from FAR-West (Folk Alliance Region West) Conference in Vancouver, Washington and man, what a time was had! It's one of the few times during the year that touring performing songwriters can get together and see one another perform, swap stories and information, and meet others that are involved in this strange twilight world ;^)...
New YouTube videos!
Wed, Sep. 26 2007
There are a couple of new videos on YouTube of a performance I did on "The Indie Music Show". One of the songs is an acoustic version of "Walk away", from the first album...Response has been very positive. The other one is "The Vampire Song",which will be on the new album...that one's gotten a life of it's own down here in Southern California :^)
Tue, Sep. 11 2007
It was six years ago today.
A bit of Local press
Sat, Jul. 28 2007
I recently had an interview with a reporter from our local Moorpark Acorn newspaper. It hit the stands yesterday (The day of the show) complete with a big ol' photo of yours truly...
New Yahoo Groups Moderator!
Fri, Jul. 20 2007
I'd like to welcome Sheila as the new Moderator on the JamesHurleyMusic Yahoo group. (There's a signup button below) For me, managing the many, many postings, updates, calendars, and news items can become so overwhelming that it takes away from the writing, recording, and performing of music...which is the whole point of all this effort! So Sheila, your help is greatly appreciated and is a real contribution to the new album! Thank you ! James
Click here to join JamesHurleyMusic
Click to join JamesHurleyMusic
Wed, Jul. 11 2007
This week has been a full one and it's only halfway done! Recorded some drum tracks on Monday with drummer/producer Dave Beyer at his studio in Glendale. The session was engineered by Chas Ferry and went like clockwork. What a wonderful thing it is to be working with such accomplished people! Each of these guys is a master in his field and it made the whole experience completely, seamlessly creative. The songs we worked on were "Mountain" and "Those days" and I'm looking forward to doing some more there later on in the process.
Sat, Jun. 30 2007
Quite a bit of work has gotten done on the album since I returned from the Northwest tour. I've added support vocals to some songs, tracked new instruments on others, and even re-recorded a couple from scratch....all part of this wonderful process! One of the most fun was tracking electric guitars on "Mountain". If you picked up a copy of the "Road Roughs" during the last tour you know this song is rather intense with acoustic guitar and vocal alone. Now it's REALLY intense, with a bass track and this electric guitar that makes me smile when I hear it...I just love the sound. I used my black Strat through an old Silvertone (Sears) amplifier that had this wonderful, "chimey", bell-like, distorted sound that was just perfect for the track....oh, yes.
Another nice development was the new vocal track I recorded for "Jealous of the Moon" in Santa Cruz at MARS Studios (www.mars-studios.com) worked out perfectly. It was an opportunity to use a very rare microphone that delivers a very particular type of sound and I was pretty sure it was going to work out, but because I recorded it during the first week of a six week tour, I never heard the track again until I got back from the tour and got back into the studio here in L.A.....whew! Big thanks to Ken Capitanich and Chris Chase at MARS for their creativity and expertise!
More to come,
Ready to go!
Fri, Jun. 15 2007
I got back to SoCal last Thursday after six weeks out...I'm glad to be back and yet looking forward to going again! (boy...I'm sure a Psychiatrist would have something to say about a statement like that)
Once again it was "Adventures in the Northwest", with shows all the way up California, Oregon, and Washington and then back. Saw old friends, made new ones, heard great music, and met some amazing people along the way.
Managed to sneak in some fishing up on the Puget Sound too...Once again we didn't land "Moby Cod" but we did manage to get get our limit...:^)
Managed to get in some recording while on the road too. Did some vocal tracks for "Jealous of the Moon" at MARS Studios in Santa Cruz, Ca....Ken, the owner, is an old friend and while visiting him he mentioned this "particular" mic he'd picked up....I couldn't resist! ;^)
I picked up a "bug" while on the road that pretty much laid me out for well over a week. Fortunately I had only one show during that time and I managed to squeak through that by the narrowest of margins...there's nothing quite like the feeling of walking up to a microphone with the knowledge that your voice is somewhere else!
Did some tracking as soon as I got back. Bass on "Mountain" and a few other things but there's a lot left to do and I'm excited about it all....HA! I love my job! :^)
Fri, May. 25 2007
Wow, what a week! It happens. Everything's going along beautifully and then all of a sudden it isn't! After a wonderful show at the Wildwood Concert Series in Anacortes, Wa. and another at the Brookhaven Lodge in Marblemount, Wa...I was looking forward to a week off before the next show in Placerville, Ca....thought I'd take the opportunity to see some places I hadn't seen and do a little exploring...and then I came down with what seemed like the plague! Sweats, chills, dizzy, congestion...you know, the whole bit! AArrrggghh! Ended up getting motel rooms for the duration 'cause I just couldn't face the back of the van under those circumstances...Ah well, I guess that's what the money was for...I'm just glad I had no shows for that period, I'd have had to cancel! So now I'm back on my feet. I've got a show tonight and I feel like I might be able to pull it off....as long as I don't break into an unintentional yodel in the middle of a song that is! :^) ....whew, glad that's over! Onward!!!
Mon, May. 14 2007
An overdue update! I'm back in Seattle again after shows in Anacortes and Marblemount. While in Anacortes my friend Grady and I managed to spend more time on the water than off (well, almost!)...Once again we went in search of "Moby Cod" this time in the company of David, whose boat the other fishermen in the Puget Sound have probably come to resent...watching these guys fish was like watching someone stroll through the seafood section of the local supermarket....line in, fish on, reel 'em up, do it again! Grady was even generous enough to offer a 38 inch ling-cod we couldn't keep ('cause we'd already caught our limit) to rather some dejected looking fishermen in a neighboring boat....They umm, declined the offer. The show at the Wildwood Concert Series was fantastic! A wonderful evening in a truly wonderful place (Thank you Susan and Jay!!) and we're planning to do it again next year :^) Then it was back up to Marblemount for the show at the Brookhaven Lodge. Another truly beautiful setting....Way up in the Skagit River Valley. Mountains, river, trees....The distance from L.A. can't be measured merely in miles.
Sun, Apr. 29 2007
I'm in Seattle after shows in Portland at Mississippi Pizza (Jeremy Serwer is a wonderful artist!) and Music Millennium (Possibly the coolest record store in America), a show last night in Chehalis, Washington at The Matrix. Last night was a kick. I shared the night with a three-piece that was comprised of elements from the band "Just Plain Bill" and they served up heaping helpings of original Americana that was a joy to listen to. Now I'm headed to the House Concert with Jean Mann and Eileen Cuba...it'll be great to see and hear Jean again!
Tue, Apr. 24 2007
The shows in the Monterey Bay area went well indeed. I ended up being selected as a finalist in a West Coast Songwriters competition at the Aptos show... Did some recording at M.A.R.S. Studios in Aptos too. I recorded a vocal track for "Jealous of the Moon" through (this is for all you studio tech turbo-geeks!) a 1954 Telefunken U-47!! For all the rest of us, it's a really, really cool microphone that hasn't been made in a long, long, time! :^) The next show was at Songs of Sonoma at Ordinary Miracles in Cotati ...full house, much fun. David Zaslof, Dan'l McIlhenny, Deborah, and I had a wonderful time with a wonderful audience....and the inimitable Ric Taylor was there to make certain all went smoothly...Ric will be playing this venue soon and believe me, if you're in the area, this will be a performance you'll want to see. I'm headed to Portland for a show at Misissippi Pizza on Thursday and another at Music Millennium on Friday. Hope to see you there!
Monterey Bay area
Wed, Apr. 18 2007
Today is April 18th. I'm on the road in the Monterey Bay area and headed North, one of my favorite tours. I managed to finish a nine song CD of some of the basic tracks for the new album before I left! It's available as "The Road Roughs" only for as long as this tour lasts...so come by one of the shows on the Calendar page and pick one up for the paltry sum of ten bucks! :^) (and in so doing help produce the full album!)
Tue, Apr. 3 2007
I'm in Arizona recording. Came over for a short tour and managed to fit a few days of tracking in as well. The radio show in Prescott was a blast! (Thank you Alexa and Tom!) Two shows in Las Vegas this weekend and then back to SoCal for some more recording... :^)
Thu, Mar. 29 2007
On Tuesday I was back at Chas Ferry's studio in Simi Valley recording tracks for the new album. This time it was vocals on "Those days" and a bass track and lead vocal on "Long way down". I finished writing "Those days" during the last Arizona tour. It's a humorous look at those times that happen to all of us on occasion, when nothing at all goes right, no matter what we do...it rocks, it's fun, and it makes me laugh. "Long way down" was also written in Arizona but it was actually a couple years ago. I was considering putting it on "The Sun and the Moon" but couldn't find a way to treat it that I thought really evoked the essence of the song, so I just put it away for later....I'm glad I did. The other day I was warming up in the studio on Chas' 1965 Gibson 12-string guitar preparing for a track on "She won't be down" and started playing the chord sequence to "Long way down" 'cause it just sounded perfect....Chas pushed the talkback button and said "So, should I set up for a new tune?", and away we went! So on Tuesday I came back and did the bass track and the lead vocal..I like, and I hope you will too!!
The Campfire Session
Sun, Mar. 25 2007
This last Friday was a truly memorable night. One of the most amazingly musical experiences I've ever had at Kulak's Woodshed...(and there have been many!) It was an evening called "the Campfire Sessions" put together by David Harvey, a director and promotor with a great deal of expertise and imagination (always a nice combination, dont'cha think? :^) On the bill for the evening were truly some of the finest writer/performers I've ever had the honor of sharing a stage with.... Severin Browne, James Lee Stanley, Lisa O'Kane, Ernest Troost, and Kevin Fisher. the material ranged from room-stopping, to belly-laughing, to thought-provoking, to foot-stomping...it was like being a participant in a mini-Woodstock! At one point in a moment of intense surreality, I was playing one of my songs and glanced to my left and there was James Lee Stanley about three feet away smiling and completely focused on my song, a quick glance to my right and there's Kevin Fisher - same thing....and the thought crossed my mind "whoa, this is REALLY cool!" What a moment that was. Definitely not one I'm likely to forget very soon... ;^) At the end of the night we got a standing ovation!! Gawd, I love my job!
Pretty cool, huh?
Thu, Mar. 1 2007
The Arizona tour was great. Starting off in Tucson with a show at the Greenfire Music Collective. During my stay I was hosted by one of the finest troubadours it's been my pleasure to know. Eric Hansen and Marsha showed just what "southwestern hospitality" actually means. Gracious folks, and Eric is an amazing musician. His songs reach inside you and speak to your soul.
The next show was at Fiddler's Dream in Phoenix. This is a small acoustic concert series that has been around for a decade and has hosted some of the finest musicians in the world. We had a receptive and enthusiastic audience, and I was hosted during my stay in Phoenix by one of my oldest and dearest friends - author Peter Alan Rush, whose beautiful book "Love Letters of a Musician" is an open glimpse into what the the magic of love for a woman can do to, and for, a man.
Then it was off to Lake Havasu City...and a week of recording in what I call "The Fortress of Solitude". It's actually a studio owned and run by one of the most creative people I've ever had the pleasure to know, Virgil Venditto (aka "Mr. Scientifical" :^) ...When he's not designing lasers or magnetic-levitation devices, painting fine works of art or writing and recording his own music. He's busy recording other artists...like me! We got very nice tracks of "Jealous of the Moon", "Going home", and a new one called "Same 'ol..." I think all three will be on the new album.
After a week of recording I finished up the tour with a House Concert! Las Vegas songwriter Jill Trenholm and I played a private show for 40 or so people and all i can say is, if you get a chance to see Jill perform, take it! She's a wonderful writer and performer, and her voice is amazing....see her while you can still afford it! :^)
So now i'm back in Southern California, concentrating on doing more recording for the album in March, booking shows in the NW for April, May, and June, and the U.K. again in September.
Pretty cool, huh?
Honors at D.I.Y.!
Tue, Feb. 27 2007
I discovered that my song "The Sun and the Moon" received an honor at the D.I.Y. Convention in Hollywood in February....I confess I'm thrilled. It was awarded "runner up" behind John Batdorf's "Home Again" which won "Song of the Year"...and I consider that very good company indeed! :^) Congrats John! (...and me too ;^)
Recording on the road
Sat, Feb. 24 2007
Hi all, I'm writing this from northern Arizona, where I've spent the last week recording songs for the new album. I had a week off between shows, and my old friend "Mr. Scientifical" (yes, the very same! :^) has a studio here in Lake Havasu City so we knuckled down and got to work! It's so nice to hear these songs evolve in the recording process, and working with Virgil (that's his name in the real world) is always a pleasure. He's an immensely creative and musical person and brings all of that to everything he does.... So, the process continues! I'm hoping to have the new album complete by June. And though I'll be on the road in the NW for most of April and May, there is certainly progress being made
Thu, Jan. 11 2007
We just put the finishing touches on a live DVD of a webcast show at Kulak's Woodshed in December...The original idea was to use it for booking, but it turned out so well that we're considering making it available via the website...it's a twenty-plus minute solo acoustic performance that includes several songs that'll be on the next album..
...in with the new!!
Thu, Jan. 4 2007
The 2006 left like the landmark year that it was! With shows the last three days in San Luis Obispo, Benicia, and Monterey it was the perfect combination of driving, writing and performing.
The show in San Luis was a private function at the home of a fellow performer and friend. It was also the first time the police have ever appeared at an acoustic performance of mine - and it was before a single note was even played! - Apparently an influential busybody in the neighborhood heard there was going to be a concert at a private residence and interpreted that to mean that The Warped Tour would be landing in their back yard and called the police. So a very personable and somewhat resigned officer showed up at the door inquiring about the "goings-on" and my host merely pointed out my un-amplified acoustic guitar sitting in it's stand in the middle of the living room surrounded by comfortable chairs....The officer sort of chuckled, shook his head, and said "I knew it" and went on about his business....of course by the end of the show we had blown that up into a full-on raid! Complete with helicopters, dogs, frogmen in Zodiacs and a submarine with with a seachlight in the lake behind the house!!! A fine time was had by all.
The next show was at Cafe' Voltaire in Benicia in the east S.F.bay area. The proprietor Jan, pulled out all the stops and transformed her small cafe' into an intimate concert venue. She served coffee, and tea, and some of the most sinfully delicious desserts I've ever tasted to the people that came to the show. And then we had a very, very nice time. Music was played and friends were made.
The next night was New Year's Eve and I had three shows at First Night Monterey in the theatre at the Maritime Museum. Wow! All three shows were filled to capacity with people that were really focused on the music...for a performer, this is the stuff dreams are made of. I couldn't have asked for a better way to start the new year!
And now I'm back in Southern California with a couple of really great shows coming up thinking "hmmm, I sure hope this becomes a trend!" and recording has begun on the songs for the new album.
Something tells me this is going to be a very good year indeed. ;^)
Sun, Dec. 24 2006
Here it is December 24th and I'm looking back at the last 12 months in gratitude and surprise and at the next twelve in anticipation! What a year it's been! Northwest and Southwest tours, a BUNCH of local shows, and my first tour of England...a bunch of new experiences and a bunch of new songs...all of which leads to the new album!...I am SO excited about this one :^)
One night in Kent, England
Wed, Oct. 4 2006
The next show was in Ashford, Kent. An hour or so southeast - as the train flies - of London. It's a mid-size pub situated on a corner...I have to admit I was a little uncertain entering the place for the first time. It looked very like a typical pub, and as such a marginal prospect for what I do, which tends to be better suited to an intimate environment. I walked in and met the proprietor Stuart. It took all of about a minute to realize this man was a kindred soul, a professional musician that has found his muse in painting, photography, and keeping real, honest, live music alive and well in his very own venue...This was a "Listening Night" a Monday evening during which, to paraphrase,... "You've come here to listen, not to talk, if you have a problem with that, we'll gladly refund your money and suggest you go elsewhere."...The room was perfect. The audience was there for one reason only - The Music! I loved it so much Stuart had to remind me to take an intermission. After the show, it felt as though I were in the living room of an old friend. Talking to other musicians, swapping stories, tales of the road. The hospitality I've found here in England was personified at Oranges by Stuart and Dee. More soon...
"Imagine yourself on a boat on a river..."
Mon, Oct. 2 2006
After Liverpool the next show was in Essex, about an hour north of London. I took the train to Euston Station and then the underground to Epping, where my friend Garry picked me up on his way back from work. Garry lives on a boat on a river...really...and he put me up for a couple nights while I was in the area to play the show. He let me use the rear cabin, which has a wonderful view of the English marshlands and the wildlife on the river...owls, ducks, moor-hens...peaceful and beautiful. The show was on the night of the 29th of September.. the evening of my birthday, and I really couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than playing a show for a hundred or so people in an 800 year old barn that's been converted to the finest sounding acoustic music theatre I've ever seen! A super THANK YOU to Melinda Gibson for the birthday present she managed to get to me on the one day I would be in a particular little village in England! And another Thank You to my brother Tom's good friends Steve and Julie for coming out to the show at the High Barn! More later, J
Thu, Sep. 28 2006
Okay, I'm going to try to catch up as best I can. Liverpool was a fantastic experience! I didn't have any bookings there but a show in Cheltenham fell through and I figured I wasn't far from Liverpool, so why not spend a couple days looking at a city I've heard so much about? My first night there I found an open mic at a pub called Yates's. It was hosted by a very talented and friendly singer named James. I walked in, signed up, and they called me up almost immediately...the response was great. I was asked to do a couple extra songs and then after a few other artists had performed, asked to do another small set. Great fun! The next night I found another place to play. My host Will, and his good friend Ray - a fellow musician from Colorado - took me to a pub not far from Strawberry Fields (yes, that one) called "The Village" where there was a jazz night hosted by a wonderful piano player named David Fishel. David and his trio played a smokin' set of jazz standards and then after their break had me come up and play a short set. Another gratifying response! An extra song or two, hands shaken, friends made...and then there follwed a night of jazz that I've rarely seen the like of! Artist after artist came up and performed one or two songs to the accompaniment of one of the best rhythm sections I've ever heard. By the end of the night it had become difficult to believe what we had witnessed and we had to keep talking about each performance in order to make sense of it all! Wow!!
Travels in Merry Olde...
Tue, Sep. 26 2006
I'm writing this from a cyber cafe outside Liverpool. This place is really something to see. There is of course the legacy of the birth of the Beatles here along with everything that's attached to that....boyhood homes, Strawberry Fields, The Cavern Club, Penny Lane, etcetera...but there's a heck of a lot more here as well..This city is nearly 800 years old and has an incredible history. I wish I could spend weeks here digging into every corner but alas, I must onward. I'll be here for another day or two and then off to Chelmsford, Essex, to the High Barn. Check in soon, James
Greetings from England!
Tue, Sep. 19 2006
Hi everybody! I'm writing this from an internet cafe in Manchester, England. The updates have been interrupted due to limited access to the internet, but this has been a wonderful tour so far! I'm calling this the "Two Tennis Shoes and a Railpass Tour" for pretty obvious reasons...that's my sole mode of transportation (pun fully intended). It's been amazing! Starting from the very first day stepping out of the hundred-mile-an-hour Heathrow Express (I'm SO tempted to write "Hogwart's"!) into Paddington Station a truly beautiful example of industrial architecture from the 1880's (?) into my first introduction to the London Underground...which to me was akin to diving into the Colorado River at full-flood! A zillion people racing through the stations and tubes, perfectly at ease, everyone seemed to know precisely where they wer going and how to get there...except me! I'll write more very soon, but bye for now.
Just a few more days
Sat, Sep. 2 2006
Just a few more days 'til I leave for the U.K. I'll be there a little over a month playing a series of shows that will take me from London to Manchester and back again...all on foot and by rail. Exciting times! :^)
Fri, Jul. 21 2006
2006 has been full of developments. It looks as though one of my songs will be used on an upcoming album by U.K. recording artist Simon Atkinson. Simon is a wonderful singer along the lines of Tony Bennett or Michael Buble' and has plans to include my song "Whisper" on his 2007 release. You can hear him at the link above, or if for some reason that doesn't work, thry cutting and pasting this address into your browser;
The entire album "The Sun and the Moon" has been included in a music-library. Which for some, may conjure images of rows of dusty old files, but in reality means that music supervisors in film and television now have access to my music and could conceivably decide they absolutely must have one of the songs in their next blockbuster hit...(everybody cross your fingers!) I just completed the most successful tour yet of the West Coast and Northwest. With shows in California, Oregon, and Washington, meeting new people and making new friends all along the way. This time I performed several House-Concerts along the way...if you haven't yet been to one these, search them out on the internet, they're all over (and outside) the country and there's really nothing even remotely like them for a true concert experience! You can also get in touch with me and I'll point you in the right direction. There are three more tours scheduled for 2006. Another short one in August up the west coast and then in September and part of October I'll be touring the U.K. for the first time ever! And then when I get back I'm off throught the Southwest for the rest of October and part of November.
Lot's of news!
Wed, Jul. 5 2006
Wow...I didn't realize how long it's been since I've updated you. To start, the rest of the tour went by pretty quickly. I did a house concert in Carmel, which turned out really, really well. I finally got back home at the very end of May and started right away booking for my UK tour. In June, I finally got another batch of the first cd made up!! After eight months of not-so-patient waiting I was able to get together enough for another run...This is the one that "Take me away" is on. It doesn't really have a title, just my name, although it's alternately referred to as "Creature" (the first song on it) and "Demo's and Sketches"....which is what it actually was! Stylistically, it's all over the map. Rockers, blues, jazz vocal, goofy storytelling, intimate acoustic ballads, intense electric guitar, just a real hodge-podge...Originally I put it together just for my own use, then one evening after a coffeehouse gig someone asked me "so, you got a CD?" I gave him that one and he said "How much?"....jeez, suddenly I was finally in the record biz!! This is now the fifth run of that CD. Naturally, I listened to it when I received this last shipment, just to make sure everything was as it should be....and you know what? I'm really glad that guy asked me for a CD that night. I'm proud of these songs :^) And July has started out to be one cool month. I played a show at SOHO in Santa Barbara on Saturday (the first). What a show! I played for somewhere between 80 and 100 people with many other artists. Each artist got to play about three songs. So I get up on stage to perform and most people were pretty much into their conversations and as soon as I started to play "One man Woman" the audience got incredibly silent. By the third chorus of "Beaches" (the vampire song) I had everyone singing. What an experience!!! July 4th was also quite nice there were fireworks in my neighborhood like you wouldn't believe :^) I sat on the roof of my Grumman watchin'. I can't wait to see what the rest of July brings :^). James
Tue, May. 16 2006
Showed up in Anacortes on Friday morning just in time to hop in my buddy Grady's small bathtub-sized boat and romp across the Puget Sound over waves that looked from my viewpoint like the Himalayas at full speed in search of the legendary "Moby Cod"...Four hours later, Ling cod on board we headed back in...tired and pleased with our little adventure. Moby Cod is still out there though...maybe next year ;^) The House Concert that night was so cool! The hosts, Jay and Susan, invited twenty or thirty of their favorite people to their beautiful hand-crafted hideaway in the woods (Jay is a master woodwoorker and he built their home) for what was the first ,but probably not the last, house concert in the area. I played two sets of songs for one of the most attentive and appreciative audiences ever! This was a memorable evening indeed.
Tue, May. 9 2006
Eureka was an exercise in commuting! I felt like one of those waterbugs you see along the bank of a river. I was graciously hosted by fellow recording artist/producer Karie Hillery (.com) and her husband Alan at their little slice of heaven in a small town 40 miles south of Eureka. The Trinidad shows were 20 miles NORTH of Eureka...if you saw the shows page it's easy to "do the math". After the flurry of music and activity in Eureka and Trinidad, the leisurely eight hours to Eugene, Oregon was a treat. Most of the trip was spent in beautiful sunshine driving through the Redwoods (my old, old, friends!) and working out the lyrics to a new tune. I got to Eugene at around 6:pm and arrived just in time to sit down to a lovely dinner with my new friends Bob and Kathy, a wonderful couple who opened their home and hearts to me as though I were returning family....Their love of music and the arts is enormous and it shows in both their speech and in their actions. The following day I went out to promote the show, posters, touching base with local musicians, and getting a feel for the town....sure is pretty when the sun shines :^) At seven it was show-time and I must say it was a pleasant thing to have the kind of room and the kind of sound reinforcement they had....( a guy could get used to that!) but it was "just one of those shows"... sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can't bridge the gap between the performer and the audience....ah well, I did manage to connect with a couple of the people and that goes a very long way indeed! Tomorrow, Portland!
Fri, May. 5 2006
I'm on the road in Northern California headed North! So far it's been just about the best it could be...The shows in Santa Barbara and Carmel were amazing. I left each one feeling that I'd made lasting friendships. The show at the Larkspur Cafe' Theatre was another delightful evening. Not least because my nephew Hunter was there to help make sure that everything went according to plan - and it most certainly did - Thank you Hunter!! :^) So now I'm in a Wi-Fi cafe' waiting to do a phone interview on KMUD radio with Brian Elie, a stron supporter of indie music here in the Humboldt. With two shows today and two more tomorrow, We'll have plenty to talk about!!
Friends, music, and community
Tue, Apr. 4 2006
Hi everybody! It's been quite a ride these last few weeks. I had the pleasure of hosting Seattle artist Hans York for an all too brief five days. We started with a show at The Coffee Gallery Backstage where I opened for Hans at this, one of the premier acoustic rooms in Southern California. And although I had heard the recordings, I was simply knocked out by Hans' live performance! The intimacy and intensity of that night's show is a memory those of us that were there won't soon forget...The next night was my monthly show at Kava Dume in Agoura, "The Last Saturdays Concert Series" where not only was Hans a featured artist, we also had "one of L.A.'s best" performing songwriters, the inimitable Duff who raised the bar very high indeed with his wonderful songs and voice. During the course of the evening a lot of wonderful music and quite a few new friends were made. It's always my favorite show of the month but this one was something special.
On Sunday, We went down to an open mic that is held at McCabe's guitar shop in Santa Monica....This is a world renowned acoustic music store with a beautiful concert stage in the back... and as you might imagine, the sound was just about perfect. Afterward we strolled over to a nearby restaurant and had tacos-and-beer (that really oughta be a single word, dontcha think?). with Craig Lincoln and sat and talked about parking tickets, guitars, the price of yarn in Perth.
Monday we went to Kulak's Woodshed for the weekly worldwide webcast open mic at which Hans was the featured artist...once again magic was made. Hans took the whole room for a ride with this evening's performance of "Invocation"....AND it was recorded on DVD! So I dunno, sometime soon there could be a snippett of video of that show at Hans' website...one can only hope! Next night was a Tuesday, and Hans just happened to be one of the featured artists at Garret Swayne's Main Street Songwtiter Showcase at Cafe Bellissimo. Garret performed a wonderful set and Hans followed with a powerhouse set of his own....and as luck would have it the room was filled with a collection of some of the finest songwriters in the L.A. area...Craig, Julie Chadwick, Ric Taylor, Genevieve, Melinda Gibson, Mike Westheimer, Joe Hamilton, Al Polito, Aaron Black...and on ...and on...producer Mandi Martin was there and invited everyone to a small "after party" following the show..where once again music was played and friends were made.....The following morning after a couple of gallons of strong coffee, Hans hit the road for an eight hour drive to his next show....he made it....barely ;^)
Tue, Feb. 28 2006
Only two months into the year and things are cookin'. The Folk Alliance in Austin Texas was a real eye-opener! Somewhere on the order of two thousand attendees from all walks of the acoustic music scene...bookers, house concert hosts, managers, club owners, and of course losts and lots of performers. All in a single location focussed on a single goal. To make the most of, and improve the quality of the acoustic music sub-culture! Whoa!!
Interesting aside...The city of Austin has official signs on 6th street that read... "Parking for loading and unloading by Musicians only - from 6:pm to 2:am" ...Strong evidence that Austin is the center of the live music universe!!
How I loved seeing that! :^)
Just around the corner...
Sat, Jan. 21 2006
I'm really excited!!! February is going to be a blast! I'm playing several Guerilla showcases at the Folk Alliance in Austin Texas. What an event to be participating in! It's the single largest acoustic music event in the country!
New Year News
Sat, Jan. 14 2006
I'm pleased to report that I just got word that for the second year I've received an ASCAPLUS Award. It's an honor to receive recognition from an organization that represents some of the most recognized and influential writer/performers in music...Thanks folks!
Also this week, I received word that my song "London Bridge" made it to the second round of judging in the 2005 International Songwriting Competition....Wow, nice way to start the new year :^)
Wow....what a start!
Wed, Jan. 4 2006
So far this has been a great start to the new year. First, I played three shows at First Night Monterey. If you're not familiar with "First Night" it's an international family oriented, alcohol-free, celebration of the new year. And Monterey is truly beautiful this time of year. Leaving Monterey, I drove to Santa Monica for a recording session that's been on the books for quite some time... Cool songs, great fun, nasty traffic! This Friday I've got a show in Thousand Oaks at the Borders there. That means five straight days of playing...that's the way I like it! This first quarter I'll be playing all over Southern California...Kulak's Woodshed, Kava Dume, Room 5, Brett Perkins' Listening Room. These, and lots of other performances are listed on the "shows" page at the website. I'm also in the early stages of booking a Northwest tour for May. So if there's anyone who would like to host a "House Concert" along the coastal route from L.A. to Vancouver by all means drop me a line, let's work it into the schedule! I'd like to wish everyone peace, prosperity, and frequent random joy, throughout 2006! James
Feeling a little reflective...
Thu, Dec. 8 2005
I was looking back at this last year trying to make sense of the whole thing and well, what can one say about a year that started with my first national media exposure (NPR in February), included four tours, saw my first song placement in a film ("One fine day" - in a documentary called "John Bacher - Man, myth & legend"), local radio play ranging from San Diego to Alaska, and international airplay with spins in the U.K. and Denmark. A year in which a conspiracy of friends and fans pooled money, bought the guitar of my dreams and presented it to me at a show (The full story can be found on the "news" page at the website). The inlcusion of three ( !! ) of my songs on a compilation CD called "Live at the P & G Vol. 1", and another song ("Creature", from the first album) slated for inclusion on an anti-high-school-violence compilation album. And these are just the things that come to mind as I look back while writing this little missive...I guess what I'm leading up to here is I'm thankful for the wonderful things that have come my way and grateful for the support of everyone reading this....James
Friday's Show at Gayle's Perks
Sat, Nov. 12 2005
This Friday I'm hosting an "in the round" with two of the most creative acts in the Southern California acoustic songwriter community. Starts at 7pm and goes till 10.Below is some information about each of the acts I'll be playing with. If you're in the area drop by and say "Hi".
Robert Morgan Fisher...www.robertmorganfisher.com
Robert Morgan Fisher was born to write. He uses humor to great effect and has been favorably compared to fellow Texans Robert Earl Keen, Guy Clark and Junior Brown. In summer of 2005, Robert released "Built Myself a Greenhouse" on his own Imperative Records label. The 14-song cd was co-produced with world class bass player Chad Watson. Robert performed in 8 showcases at the annual Far West Folk Alliance and he performs often in the popular venues around Southern California. "He is a natural born word man and when he puts his words to music, the songs will grab you with their wonderful use of language'' - Mary Gauthier.
Echoes Landing is Gregg Olsen and Allison Von Bulow. Acoustic in nature, their appreciation of wooden sounds and thought provoking lyrics permeate through songs influenced by jazz, rock, and world music.Gregg is a multi-instrumentalist whose talents extend into music production and recording engineering. Allison is a seasoned guitarist/singer/songwriter whose vocal style is often compared to Anne Wilson and Joni Mitchell. Their new release "Closer to you" will be available in Mid-November.
Location details are available on the "shows" page. Hope to see you there!
Peace & Prosperity,
Fri, Nov. 11 2005
Conventions, roadtrips, awards, live radio, and lots of shows! This has been a six-week period to remember. The updates have been interrupted because there has been so much going on there hasn't been time to document it!....That's a GOOD thing! :^)
ASCAP Plus Award !!
Wed, Oct. 12 2005
I received notice yesterday that I've been selected as a recipient for an ASCAP Plus Award for 2005! I'll let ASCAP describe it; ASCAPLUS is an awards program that provides cash and recognition to 1): active writers in the early and mid stages of their careers, and 2): to established writers whose main activity is outside of broadcast media. 'nuff said...every little bit helps!!
Sun, Oct. 9 2005
The "Last Saturdays" shows at Kava Dume are gaining a reputation for being a great place to see acoustic acts in an intimate venue. On the 29th it will be my pleasure to host yet another intallment featuring some truly wonderful perfoming songwriters...
Ja-re is an amazingly talented young man that performs as a singer/songwriter....on violin!
I couldn't believe my ears or eyes the first time I saw him perform.
Lisa Turner is (if you don't already know) a clever,insightful writer with a beautiful, dynamic, captivating voice. Her music lies somewhere between folk and rock with forays to elsewhere included.
Echoe's Landing is what one might call an acoustic fusion duo with roots in Rock, Jazz, and World music. It's comprised of Alison Von Bulow, whose aggressive guitar and passionate vocals allow her counterpart, multi-instrumentalist Greg Olsen, to explore textures and harmonic devices that border on other-worldly...
Mind you, these are merely MY opinions...come down and hear for yourself at 8:pm on the Last Saturday of October at Kava Dume in Agoura!
Details for location are on the "shows" page!
Wed, Oct. 5 2005
The "Last Saturdays" show at Kava Dume in Agoura was unreal with wonderful perfomances from Matias Manser, Kiki Wow, and Amy Kuney (ALL of whom have dot-coms). Radio tipped it's hat to me again with spins on the Saturday show "Tied to the tracks" on KCSN 88.5 in Northridge, Ca. and Whole Wheat Radio (www.wholewheatradio.org) in Talkeetna, Alaska!
Where did September go??...
Mon, Oct. 3 2005
With everything that's been going on I just haven't managed to make the time to update the website...this has been pointed out to me by more than one person and so here I sit, working my fingers (both of them!) to the bone in a journalistic frenzy. September was a fun month, with shows 17 out of 30 days. Several new venues, and a successful coastal tour. The "Last Saturdays" show at Kava Dume was really something with invited artists Matias Manser, Kiki Wow, and Amy Kuney all delivering inspired and inspiring performances. I promise I'll come back out and update again soon (Cris!) ...best to all! James
No more "Not-Com"!!
Fri, Aug. 19 2005
The first thing I want to mention is that my good friend Joe Hamilton has a new website! www.joehamiltonmusic.com will keep you current with the goings-on in the ever expanding musical world of one of SoCal's finest singer/songwriters! Next on the news front...My song "One fine day" from The Sun and the Moon is being featured in a movie!! It's a documentary about world renowned solo free-climber John Bacher...you know, those guys that scale cliff-faces unassisted by ropes or safety devices...I'm told it was used in the middle of the film and during the ending credits...
Another "Last Saturday" to remember!
Sun, Jul. 31 2005
Saturday night at the Kava Dume in Agoura was an evening to remember! The show started with Al Polito (www.alpolito.com). Al has been described as a performer who "pays no more attention to musical boundaries than a Lear Jet pays to roadsigns"...the audience found out why on Saturday and Al won some new fans. Second on the bill was the duo "Weird Brother" which is comprised of Burt Berger and Tom Hubbard, the wonderful songwriting and clever vocals captured the audience and had them singing along to songs they'd never heard before!...And then came Tracy Newman (www.tracynewman.com). In my book Tracy is one of the finest songwriters around. She writes these wonderful songs and delivers them live with such honesty that there's no one I can think to compare her to....I guess that's the definition of incomparable, isn't it? After Tracy's set, I closed the show with a set of material from "The Sun and the Moon" and some new songs which were (thankfully!) well received :^) So another great "Last Saturday" was had and the trend will continue. I'll be on the road in the end of August so on the 27th' the "Last Saturday" show will be hosted by Joe Hamilton ...Joe's guests are Michael Doman, Pete Hopkins, and the one and only James Lee Stanley!
Last Saturdays at Kava Dume
Sat, Jun. 25 2005
The Last Saturdays Acoustic Concert Series at Kava Dume in Agoura has been consistently amazing. Every month the show has been the sort of thing that people talk about for weeks afterward....well, this last one went beyond all hopes and expectations...the lineup was a combination of luck and serendipity based upon intercontinental schedules and industry commitments....the bottom line is this, there were four headliners in one night. From 8:30 'til 10:30 pm, the audience was treated to a songwriter's dream-bill.. Joe Hamilton opened the show with a set that established the perfect tone for the evening. Vivid imagery, intimate, intense songs and of course, a performance that completely captured the listener. After Joe finished his set, Severin Browne (www.severnbrowne.com) stepped up and from the opening measure of "My love mo' bettah" (from the album "This twisted road") the audience was his. No pyrotechnics or dance moves, just great songwriting and the ease and intimacy of performance that made you feel as though you'd been invited into the living room to hear a few tunes by a good friend that happened to be Severin Browne...Next came Simon Lynge (www.simonlynge.com)...when I introduced him, I described him as a sorcerer....no lie! Simon writes songs that defy gravity, his imagination runs free and takes you with it, and his performance, as always, was completely engaging...when Simon pauses, the room stops breathing. After Simon's set I went up and did a set that consisted mostly of new material that I haven't yet recorded...so that's a thumbnail sketch of what happened on the last Saturday of June 2005...If you can, try to make it to next month's show, it's well worth the effort! Best, James
The Aerostar Road Rocket Tour continues....
Wed, Jun. 8 2005
Just came to a brief halt in Tucson after driving from San Diego...eight hours of singing at the windshield. I play tonight at the Green Fire Bookstore, a cool little bookstore/performance venue that defines the word "alternative". Take a look at the website link on the "shows" page....tomorrow Phoenix.
Across the desert, across the water...
Sun, Jun. 5 2005
The Huntington Beach Relay for Life was great. A whole lot of people came together to support the fight against cancer...I don't know what the total miles walked were, but the level of commitment was very high indeed. I was proud to be a part of it. This week I rocket across the desert for a four-day circle through San Diego, Tucson, Phoenix, and then back to L.A... Cool new develpoment...I just received word that "One man woman" has been getting airplay in Denmark! I do hope that becomes a trend :^)
Bird for a day....!
Mon, May. 9 2005
So after Port Townsend I once again boarded a ferry and crossed back to the mainland, picked up good ol' Interstate 5 down to Seattle and then cut across to West Seattle to the lovely C&P Coffee Co. This is in a neat old house, built probably in the 20's with a large front room that is perfectly suited to acoustic music. Cool place, cool audience, sold 108 CDs (not really ;^)...next morning, down to Olympia to yet another coffeehouse. This time it's before noon and I'm there to meet Grant Nelson, a guitar player I met in Oly on the Northbound trip...We stayed in contact after I left and he mentioned that he's a pilot...."Oh really!??"....This is something I've been interested in since I was a youngster and when he offe