Colin James

Colin James, guitarist, songwriter (b at Regina 17 Aug 1964). Colin James began learning guitar at age 8, and played mandolin with the traditional group Sod Hut and the Buffalo Chips at 14.

James, Colin

Colin James, guitarist, songwriter (b at Regina 17 Aug 1964). Colin James began learning guitar at age 8, and played mandolin with the traditional group Sod Hut and the Buffalo Chips at 14. His older brother Robbie introduced him to British blues-rock (Cream, Led Zeppelin), which encouraged his interest in electric guitar. His first widely available recording was a 12-inch single titled Hook, Line & Single (1986), released by Edmonton-based Bumstead Records.

His major label debut, the pop-oriented Colin James (1988), was co-produced by Vancouver's Bob Rock (Metallica, Bryan ADAMS) and included the hits "Five Long Years,""Why'd You Lie" and "Voodoo Thing." Quickly graduating from bars to concert halls, James took a more blues-oriented approach on Sudden Stop (1992) and Bad Habits (1995). Pre-dating the swing revival of the late 1990s, Colin James indulged his passion for vintage, 1940s-era jump blues with the popular Colin James & the Little Big Band (1993), which featured classics originally recorded by Roy Brown, Roscoe Gordon and Tiny Bradshaw, among others. A second swing album, Colin James & the Little Big Band II (1998), also sold in excess of 100 000 copies in Canada. James has won a string of JUNO AWARDS: Single of the Year for "Just Came Back" (1991), Male Vocalist of the Year (1995, 1996) and Best Blues Album (1998) for National Steel.

Writing and recording with former ODDS frontman Craig Northey, Colin James released 2 contemporary rock albums in Fuse (2001) and Traveler (2003); the latter mixed original material with songs by Jimi Hendrix, Nick Drake and John Lennon. James, Northey and Hamilton singer-songwriter Tom Wilson co-wrote "Far Away Like a Radio," the lead single off the 2005 album Limelight. Recorded in Nashville with co-producer Colin Linden, the disc was James's first for MapleMusic Recordings and featured a crew of veteran musicians led by drummer Jim Keltner, Bonnie Raitt's bassist Hutch Hutchinson and Aretha Franklin/Stevie Wonder sideman Reggie McBride. A year later Colin James released Colin James & the Little Big Band 3, another lively set of jump blues and R&B classics that featured standout contributions by pianists Reese Wynans (from Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble band) and Chuck Leavell (the Allman Brothers, the Rolling Stones). A Little Big Band Christmas album followed in late 2007 in tandem with a national tour that matched James with Canada's leading symphony orchestras.