James Day was born in Valdosta Georgia in 1961.As a military dependant he lived all over the world for 3 year stints. James and his brother Jeff both picked up the guitar and played duo gigs while living overseas. When the family returned to their hometown of Biloxi Mississippi James absorbed the Blues and American roots music played in the southern clubs and jukes in this raucous seaside town. He moved to New Orleans to play guitar in the Rockabilly Roots band The Casuals. The Casuals worked the New Orleans and the Gulf Coast music scenes.When the Casuals disbanded in 1984, he took a 13 year hiatus from the music business to pursue water skiing, snowboarding and sailing. During that time, James held a series of jobs from airbrush artist to crawfish/fish fry caterer (hence the band’s name). A satellite installation job brought him to Philadelphia and a woman convinced him to stay. He took up the harmonica, playing as a side man in area swing and blues bands.
James started his own project, James Day and the Fish Fry in 2003. The band’s combined showmanship and musical talents forged a sound of Jump Blues and New Orleans R&B. The Fish Fry found an enthusiastic audience and quickly became popular in the Mid -Atlantic area. They have backed many National Blues stars to include Johnny Dyer, Gary Primach, Nappy Brown, James Harman, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Pine Top Perkins among others.Their debut CD, Blue Latitudes was an all original song meander down the Mississippi river, treating fans to a selection of each Blues style along the way.
James work on the reeds was initially influenced by Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williams II records, and later influenced by modern Blues harmonica players; Kim Wilson and Rick Estrin. His style has evolved to more of a horn player spinning unexpected lines and reserved phrasing that shows the influence of his East Coast harp mentors, Dennis Gruenling and Steve Guyger.
As a humorous front man, James’ vocal style leans toward the old Blues shouters, Big Joe Turner, and Smiley Lewis. In addition to his harmonica and vocal skills, James Day is a witty and imaginative songwriter with the ability to turn a phrase with clever word play.
The new CD, Firecracker was produced by international Blues veteran James Harman and engineered by Blues guitar wizard, Nathan James. Top-shelf West Coast Musicians were recruited by Harman to back James Day’s 12 original songs (two co penned with James Harman). Firecracker features: Carl “Sonny” Leyland on keyboards, Nathan James on guitars, Marty Dodson on trap drums, Dale Buddy Clark on acoustic bass, Jonny Viau on tenor sax, Tony Matoian on baritone sax and James Michael Tempo on percussion. The CD is posthumously dedicated to Buddy Clark since it was the last project he played on-sadly he passed away six months later.
James Day and the Fish Fry play their definitive style of “Jump Blues and New Orleans Grooves” at clubs, summer concerts and Blues festivals in the Mid Atlantic and also up and down the East Coast. With Jeff Michael on acoustic bass, Ron Baldwin on piano, Mark Thornton on percussion, Greg Snyder on guitar, and Mark Shewchuk on drums, the Fish Fry provide the energy and racket to fuel one wild, swingin’, house-rocking party.