Whether you catch Nathan James as his true one man band playing guitar, stomping out time on his custom suitcase drum set, while singing and blowing harmonica, or leading his new trio, you are sure to be moved and impressed with the unique energy and soul that he possesses. Nathan James is a well respected and experienced artist in his field. For over 12 years now, he has successfully made his living solely on specializing in his passion of blues, and American roots music. Starting his career of full time gigging musician at age 18, Nathan is no stranger to live performance.
While simultaneously discovering the guitar and the blues at age 13, Nathan James has since been in complete focus as to where his life goal would lead. Growing up in the small town of Fallbrook Ca, has been influential in deciding to choose this path. "There wasn't a lot to do here, so you either got in trouble, or found something productive to do!" Having supportive parents that didn't force him into the usual college after high school, allowed Nathan to go straight into the 'real working world' of playing music.
"Part of it was luck that I was able to get paying gigs right off the bat!" Local blues bands the Blues Pharaohs and Billy Watson gave Nathan a chance to get his feet wet with enough local gigs to support himself literally a month after graduating school! This led to also working with well known Southern California blues acts Jamie Wood, and Johnny Dyer. At age 19 Nathan got the call from internationally known blues veteran James Harman to join his band and tour the country. With Harman is where he gained the experience that has shaped most of his own career.
After touring and recording nonstop with Harman for 3 1/2 years, Nathan decided to have a go at literally a solo career- that is playing one man acoustic based blues. This was instantly successful, leading to playing over 30 gigs a month at times!! With the strain of carrying the entire show by yourself all the time, Nathan met up with harmonica player/vocalist Ben Hernandez, a like minded young blues musician aficionado, and together they started working as a duo. As word spread of these two and their ability to bring back to life the spirit of duos like Sonny Terry and Brownie Mcghee country blues, they gained international notoriety while traveling all over the West Coast and; In 2007, they entered the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, and took 1st place! This really has made their reputation spread like wildfire. That year alone the duo traveled to Denmark, Italy and Taiwan.
Currently Nathan’s new three piece band is forging a cumulative sound that combines the sophisticated intricacy of acoustic bluesmen such as Big Bill Broonzy and Blind Blake, with the electric uptown styles of Johnny Guitar Watson and B.B. King! This is not your average blues power trio that leans towards the much abused "blues rock" formula. Instead each member in the band knows all the nuances of the different feels and tones. Another unique aspect of a live show is band mate Troy Sandow. He may start off the set on upright bass while Nathan will play an uptown lead guitar style in the vein of B.B. or T-bone Walker. Then he will switch over to amplified harmonica and Nathan will fingerpick the bass notes and melody on his baritone guitar in the style of R.L. Burnside or Lightnin' Hopkins. Although Nathan's band pays homage to these traditions and has the same quality of musicianship, there is an original and fresh new energy coming from somebody of a much younger generation.
SOME PERFORMANCE HISTORY:
Winthrop Blues Fest, Winthrop WA
G! Festival, Faroe Islands, Europe
Mönsteras Blues Festival, Mönsteras Sweden
Eutin Blues Festival, Eutin Germany
Kwadendamme Bluesfestival, Holland
Edmonton LaBatt’s Fest, Edmonton Canada
Rouge River Valley Festival, Ashland OR
Intl. Blues Challenge winner for Duo/solo
Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA
Rootsway and Novellara Festivals, Italy
Novellara Blues Fest, Italy
Delta Blues Fest, Italy
Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland OR
Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, San Diego to Mexico
Blues Bash 4, Taipei, Taiwan
Arkansas Blues And Heritage Fest, Helena AK
Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA
2005 Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA
2003 San Francisco Blues Festival, SF CA