Over a 2 year period of knowing James, there is no denying that this guy loves what he does for a living, and there is also no denying that it makes him very busy. With playing over 200 shows a year since 2014, when he became a full-time musician, he has played countless venues in and around NC as well as out of state and released 3 studio albums.
Even though James started his full-time music career in 2014, he has been playing guitar since age 15, thanks to his dad, who played guitar and introduced Blues/Rock music to James when he was just a kid. Growing up, the music his dad would play had a huge influence on him then, and even now as an adult it has the same effect. James first started out playing piano however, he gave it up very fast when he started playing with other people who were playing guitar. Not long after he started playing he was in his first rock band playing KISS and AC/DC covers, mainly for high school parties. The band was dubbed “Strip Poker”, which more than likely has a more interesting story behind it than the name or band itself.
After his first high school band James went on to play and record multiple different genres but, his heart has always been in rock, and since 2014 James has released 3 albums being “421 Take Me Home”, “The Book Of James: Chapter One”, and “The Book Of James: Chapter Two” which have all original songs written by James along with a few co-written songs with local NC songwriters.
As of future plans, James has a band James and Company that are playing at bigger venues and festival in and around the triad. He is also working on a solo acoustic album this winter, and plan on doing 2 full band albums very soon, one being full of original material by James and Company, and the other being a cover album of their favorite classic rock songs.
Here are a few questions to get to know James a bit better and what he’s all about.
Q. Musicians that influenced you early on
A. Bon Jovi and The Eagles
Q. Musicians that Influenced you now
A. The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin
Q. What’s currently on your playlist
A. The Eagles, Kaleo, and ZZ Top
Q. Your first concert
A. Kenny Rogers and Alabama
Q. The most memorable concert you’ve been to
A. John Mayer and The Eagles
Q. What do you love most about playing music
A. “Watching the reactions people have to it. It makes people happy, it brings people together, and it makes me feel like I have a purpose in general. I love seeing people make friends at one show, next thing you know they’re hanging out at another show and have more friends. You know you see people meet at your gig then the next year you’re playing at their wedding. It seems like it’s the one time nobody’s talking about politics, religion and the world events, everybody’s just there to sing, to listen, have drinks, and be together. Nobody’s really part when you’re playing music, everybody seems like they’re together”
With a sound as nostalgic as the lone star state itself, A.J. LeGrand is part of the small percentage of the eminent true American songwriters that have been pouring out of Texas for years.
LeGrand of Dallas, Texas released his first full-length record this year titled “Expectations”. “Expectations” consists of 12 tracks that showcase the songwriter’s ability to create a movie reel in your head through storybook lyrics taking you back with sounds that reminisce the notorious Texas outlaws with a touch of individuality that makes these 12 tracks so memorable.
Setting the mood for the record, the first song “Better Than Slowly Dying” is a slow, dark, hard backbeat track written by LeGrand that gives off major Townes and Cash vibes and gives you a good indication of what you can expect out of the next 11 tracks. The title track “Expectations” is about getting a bit of a rude awakening in life and it not always being what you expect.
On Monday, Oct. 16th The Blind Tiger hosted their weekly Live & Local Mondays. Bringing you 3 artist from all over North Carolina, with the first act being James Vincent Carroll hailing from Winston-Salem. He had a memorable one-man acoustic classic rock show full of originals with a few covers thrown in. For the second part of the show, Mount Airy native Joey Nevada, and his guitarist James Brickey played a set of originals as well, with a few covers that had a modern country feel with an Americana flair. To close out the night, Whiskey Foxtrot from Winston-Salem, which had a heavy Americana vibe with a country feel performed a set of originals along with a cover of the classic Waylon tune, “Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bits Done Got Out Of Hand”. Special thanks to Bradley Steele, owner of On The Road Again Touring for bringing together a great group of musicians.
The Foo Fighters put on a high-spirited, full of life show at the Greensboro Coliseum on Oct. 15. Currently, on tour promoting their newest album “Concrete and Gold” which was released on September 17th of this year, Greensboro was just their 2nd stop on the 23 show run for this fall. Opening up with their latest single “Run” off the new album, they instantly had the crowd up on their feet roaring and had them in the palm of their hand till the lights went down later on that night.
Mark Harrison or more commonly known as ‘BuddyRo’ (in which his drummer Chip ‘Memphis’ Click dubbed him) has been hanging around the Greensboro music scene since the early 80s. Born in Thomasville in ‘56 but now calls Greensboro his home Mark, is a well-known and respected guitarist and vocalist in the triad. Growing up in an environment that welcomed music with his dad being a manager of the radio station WTNC ever since he could remember, Mark was sure to do something involving music whether it be a radio broadcaster (which he tried his hand in at a young age and quickly deemed himself not radio broadcaster material for he didn’t think he had quite the voice for it) or a musician. The radio station is where he said helped formed most of his music taste. WTNC was not exactly a top 40s radio station Mark stated, they played hillbilly music before it was given the name ‘Country’ with a few hits of the day woven in there. Mark remembers bringing home demos of Van Morrison and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and listening to them.
Always having music present in his childhood he was not playing anything or singing until he was out of highschool. When he got into highschool he said he wasn’t hanging around with the best of crowds, being a musician was the last thing on his mind. It wasn’t until after he graduated he even considered being one. With all his party friends going off to college and getting a “higher education” as he put it he didn’t have much to do except get a job and even then he didn’t know what to do with his spare time. So he decided he was going to start messing around with the guitar given his history with music and it just being something he was interested in for years. So he went and bought himself a Yamaha F-G 125 that he still has years later now, with a hole in it, though it doesn’t sound quite as good as Willie’s “Trigger” it does have the same sentimental value. Playing along with records is where he honed his playing skills like many did back in the ‘70s. Some of the guys he delved into when learning how to play were musicians like Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, and Waylon Jennings. Focusing more on the country and outlaw side of music he didn’t start playing the more rocking stuff till a few years later when he got his first electric guitar. He named off a few of his favorite guitar slingers he looked up to when he was younger and they were the greats like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Duane Allman.
He eventually formed his first band which was called ‘South Road’ but it didn’t last too long, with them only playing 3 or 4 gigs. Mark then went on to a band out of Charlotte called ‘Magpie’ he described as a “folk-rock hippie bunch” but he didn’t stick with them for too long either. It wasn’t until after Mark moved to Greensboro in late ‘82 then in ‘85 he finally put together his own band and what is today known as ‘The Mighty Fairlanes’ but then was just ‘The Fairlanes’. Although the lineup has changed throughout their 30+ year span with a few female singers singing with them here and there the first solid lineup consisted of Mark on guitar, Chris Carroll on bass/vocals, Kevin Wilson on keys, and Gary Collins on drums along with a few others throughout the years. It wasn’t until about this time Mark started getting into the blues. Not that he was over the whole rock thing by any means, he just started discovering the music his favorite bands grew up on. He started listening to the famous bluesmen who inspired almost every band in the 60s/70s like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters and started getting into to Texas swing, like Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys, which he said had a huge influence on him. Then started to realize that all his friends in bands were just doing covers of Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top, which he was doing the same thing but he didn’t get into music for this. He did it for himself, he didn’t want to do covers of other people’s songs, that is when he decided to start writing his own music though he didn’t get serious about until about 5 years ago. Then The Fairlanes eventually settled into a three-piece in ‘92 that was made up of Mark on guitar, Chip ‘Memphis’ Click on drums/vocals, and Ken Graham on bass. This was the lineup that lasted for 24 years until Ken had some health issues that prevented him to perform on a regular schedule. The Fairlanes eventually found Glenn Bickel a keyboard player and a Philadelphia native that moved to the triad, then along with Colby Jack on Bass and Mark Vernon who occasionally comes to play bass, that is what now forms the current lineup of The Mighty Fairlanes.
The current lineup of The Mighty fairlanes have been playing around the triad for the past year while working on their studio album over the summer set to release on October 7th. The album entitled ‘The Longer I Live’ will be the Mighty Fairlanes 2nd studio album among many other live recordings. All 12 songs on the record ‘The Longer I Live’ were written by Mark and when asked what to expect with the new album he said “Don’t expect a blues record from me man”. There’s a couple of swing tunes and rock songs tinged with some blues, Mark and the band were struggling to put it in a genre of any kind stating that “It might just be in a genre of its own”. They’re not too concerned with what genre to put this record in though, they’re just happy to be making a record with music and people that they love to play with. Mark is playing all guitar and singing on the record, Chip ‘Memphis’ Click is on drums/vocals, Glenn Bickel on keys, and Colby Jack along with Chris Carroll who was part of the original band played on 3 songs during the summer before his passing in August.
Mark ‘BuddyRo’ Harrison has been around the Greensboro music scene for years and over the course of 35 of them has developed a name for himself playing the music he loves. If you would like to catch him and The Mighty Faitalnes next show follow them on facebook here. If you would like to get a CD The Mighty Fairlanes CD release party will be on October 7th at the Sawmill 2 in Greensboro, NC from 8pm-12Am, The Mighty Fairlanes will be playing throughout the night original songs off the record and much more.
On Sep. 20 the Millennium Center in Winston-Salem hosted The Banditos and St. Paul and The Broken Bones. This was one of the best concerts I’ve been to so far. Both bands were phenomenal and played songs that just made you wanna dance. It was definitely feel good music.
Both bands The Banditos and St. Paul and The Broken Bones hail from Alabama, and you could for sure tell it. The Banditos opened with a sound like no other and there is no way you could even begin to put them in a genre.
They had prominent ’60s acid rock influences along with elements of Bob Dylan, Slim Harpo, and The Drive-By Truckers, which made them have a sound like no other.
For their stage performances, it was on point, with lead singer Mary Beth Richardson putting off major Grace Slick and Stevie Nicks vibes as she floated around the stage with her tambourine belting out their original tunes. As for St. Paul and The Broken Bones, they put on a one of kind show that you could only get when you go to see them. As soon as Paul Janeway, the lead singer walked out on stage with a suit and what looked to be a shawl draped around his shoulders with a spotlight only on him, you knew you were gonna be in for a treat. With Janeway’s soulful voice, a sensational lead guitarist, a rhythm section that sounded like it was straight out of Muscle Shoals and a horn section that even Sly Stone would be envious of, St. Paul and The Broken Bones are a band full of talented musicians, with a frontman that puts on a show.
At one point in the show they performed their song “Broken Bones & Pocket Change” in which Janeway proceeded to tear up the stage by tearing up a golden rug that the roadies had taped on the stage in between shows and crawling underneath the small drum stage to add a humorous, over-dramatic feel to the song. Oh, and he did all that while singing the song note for note.
On Sept. 16, The Doodad Farm held their annual Groove Jam in Greensboro, North Carolina, benefiting Greensboro Urban Ministry. Various musicians from the Triad donated their time and provided the music for the day along with several vendors and food trucks and even a local body painter. Donations were taken in form of canned goods and the admission at the gate for the ministry. The day was kicked off at 2 p.m. on the YES! Weekly stage with the Ladies Auxiliary playing the first set. The line up for the day included The Ladies Auxilary, Abe Reid, Seth Williams & Terry VunCannon, Gooseberry Jam, Marcus Horth Band, Bump & Logie, The Mighty Fairlanes and closing out the day-long event Rich Lerner & The Groove. The Peas & Karrots and The Aldermans also switched off playing the 15-minute setup time between the acts. All in all, it was a beautiful day for an even better event. Many people donated their time and talent to this event that brought the community together to raise money and donate food for The Greensboro Urban Ministry.
For more information on the Annual Groove Jam go to The Doodad Farm Facebook to get updated on the next Groove Jam and more events held at The Doodad Farm
Serbian born, L.A. based blues guitarist Ana Popovic is coming to the triad this September, bringing us her extraordinary shredding and fiery soulful voice with her “most ambitious project yet.” Popovic is currently on the road touring and promoting her newest album, or more like albums, dubbed TRILOGY. Released in 2016, TRILOGY is a triple album release, consisting of 23 tracks spanning from funk to blues, rock to jazz. The album features some pretty killer guest appearances by artists such as Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, and many others. Not to mention it was produced by Warren Riker, Tom Hambridge (both Grammy Award winning producers), and Delfeayo Marsalis, one of the top trombonists, composers, and producers in jazz today.
This notable Serbian guitar slinger has stacked up countless achievements in her career as a musician. Ana Popovic is a five time nominee for the Blues Music Award; she’s played with the likes of many well known guitarist’s such as B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, and Gary Clark Jr, just to name a few. She has also been invited several times to play at the eminent Rhythm & Blues Cruise, where she jammed with locally and nationally known triad blues guitarist Bob Margolin. She also appeared alongside Eric Gales, another exceptional international touring artist who has, in the past, called the triad his home. She has 11 albums under her belt so far, counting TRILOGY, along with being one of the only female artist (beside Beth Hart) invited to be a part of the Experience Hendrix Tour, a concert series celebrating the music & legacy of the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. The tour features an outstanding line-up of all-star musicians that include Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Keb’ Mo’, and many more noteworthy artists. Ana has been apart of this tour since 2014.
Ana was born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia and grew up listening to her creditable guitarist/bassist father, as well as his friends who would frequent jam sessions at the Popovic’s household. Growing up, Ana would regularly listen to her father’s impactful record collection containing blues and soul artists, which had an enormous influence on her and would contribute to her music down the road. Growing up in an environment like that, she was destined to at least explore the idea of being a musician and eventually picked up the guitar at age 15. Since then, Ana has refined her craft and grown into a remarkable, globally known guitarist and a fiery soulful singer.
With world renowned blues guitarist and singer Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top stating Ana “rocks the blues in fine, fine fashion” and celebrated singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen saying she is “one helluva a guitar-player,” it’s a bit hard not to be curious about what Ana sounds like live. You can experience her in all her glory in the triad this September when she plays the Blue Note Grill in Durham, NC on September 28, and hear this sensational musician for yourself. If you can’t make it to that date, check out the rest of her tour dates listed on her website here. Make sure to check out her facebook page here so you can keep up to date with her latest news.
Being 15, I haven’t been on this earth long enough to experience too much, or really know what my “taste” in music is like, and I’m sure by the time I’m an adult it will not be the same. Regardless, here are ten tracks that have had a huge influence on me as a person, have shaped my love for music, and explain why I love photographing it.
I’ve always been around different kinds of music and involved with music from an early age. My grandfather is a bluegrass musician, my brother is an all-genre musician, and my parents have filled our household with countless musical influences; many days were soundtracked by a multitude of genres, from The Beach Boys to Doug E Fresh, which I’ve heard my dad shamelessly sing every lyric to while riding driving.
Most of my earliest and favorite memories with music are from when I was about 6-8 years old. My dad bought a ‘68 Buick Skylark convertible which, to a 6-year-old, looked like a really cool Hot Wheels car. My family would hop in it and head off to the mountains with no certain place to go, and we would always have mixtapes and CDs playing the most randomly amazing songs. When I say random, I mean it!
We would listen to anything from Gordon Lightfoot to Dave Mason. The Black Crowes and Kid Rock could play all on the same CD and I would think nothing of it. I remember riding for hours, laying down in the back seat, and looking up at the sky, just listening to the music. There’s something about cars and music that go together so perfectly. Some of the best songs were written about cars, like Sammy Johns “Chevy Van” or Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz.” Most of the music and musicians who have inspired or influenced me are results of cruising around in that Buick with no particular place to go.
Miranda Lambert – “Kerosene”
Being the only female artist on here, she is someone I could relate to and be influenced by the most when I was younger. It’s probably odd that a kid could relate to setting a cheating ex’s house on fire, but it’s not just this particular song or music video that has influenced me; it’s her as a whole. It’s all of her albums and just what she embodies. She showed me that just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I have to tolerate certain things, or tolerate being treated a certain way, and that it’s ok not to fit the “girly girl” mold. She is one of the artists that have influenced me the most in my style and attitude. When I was 10, Miranda Lambert was the epitome of cool in this video and I’m still trying to recreate her outfit from it today.
Van Morrison – “Into The Mystic”
The first time I heard this song was at a blues festival, and I was over at the little vendor tents barely in ear shot of the stage. Lawyers, Guns & Money was on stage introducing this song, and I really wasn’t listening all too well. They started the song off with a lap steel intro and as soon as I heard the first note I stopped looking at whatever weird knick-knack the vendors were selling and just listened. It was one of the most beautiful songs I had ever heard, and I instantly loved it. When the band finished, I asked who was on stage, and instantly downloaded the song, which I would eventually listen to it 100 times on repeat that weekend. It’s still one of those songs that just doesn’t get old for me
Cowboy with Duane Allman – “Please Be With Me”
I was reading a biography about Duane Allman written by his daughter, entitled “Please Be With Me,” and I had no clue there was a song of the same name until I finished the book. I listened to it shortly after I finished the book, and it quickly became one of my favorite songs Duane had played slide on. Scott Boyer from Cowboy wrote it, and the only reason it even got recorded was because Duane wanted to play on a new song on Cowboy’s record! It was really just a throwaway song Scott had written while messing around, but Duane and Johnny Sandlin ended up loving it and voilà, it got recorded. Eric Clapton does a great cover of this song (https://youtu.be/YytOpnJ_3sQ), although the vocals are probably just as good as Cowboy’s. It just doesn’t have the same feel without Duane on the slide. That’s what makes the song.
Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”
When I was younger, my dad made these CD’s with music to help me and my brother fall asleep. The mix had other artists on it but I always fell asleep too early to find out who they were. The first few songs on it were Beach Boys tunes and that’s all I remember. The great thing about the Beach Boys is that there wasn’t just one song that helped form my taste in music; the whole band itself and their albums had great influence on me! It still amazes how genius and before their time they were. Even though they definitely had their ups and downs, they are easily one of my favorite bands. Their harmonies were amazing and even to a kid not knowing exactly what harmonies were I knew that all of those guys singing together sounded unreal, and I loved every minute of it.
The Allman Brothers Band – “Soulshine”
I not only got my music taste from cruising in the Buick when I was younger, but also from my musically-inclined brother. Being that only a thin wall separates our bedrooms, whatever he was listening, so was I. This only means I have listened to I don’t know how many hours of the Allman brothers, and him trying to imitate Duane’s famous slide sound. That has had a lot to do with my music taste and the reason the Allman Bros. are a huge influence on me. Though Duane isn’t playing on this one, no matter who’s doing it it’s a great song and the Allman Brothers do an incredible version of it. No matter who you are, the lyrics to this song just have to make you feel good.
Little Feat – “Roll Um Easy”
This was one of the first Little Feat songs I remember hearing. It’s a lot like “Into The Mystic” for me when I heard the first little riff, but I was hooked and listened to it on repeat for the next week. This song was off of Dixie Chicken, which is a great album that has more well-known songs on it like “Dixie Chicken” and “Two Trains.” Along with “Roll Um Easy,” Little Feat’s “Willin’” formed my love for the band and their music. This is another song with some amazing slide work on it and, along with Lowell George’s voice, makes it one of my all time favorite songs.
Blackberry Smoke – “Ain’t Got The Blues”
I thankfully found these guys when I was pretty young (more like my brother introduced their music to me when I was a kid but still). This is a band that I could happily listen to 24/7 because they are just that great. There’s no one Blackberry Smoke song that I could pick that is my favorite or has shaped my love for their music specifically, but this one does a pretty good job at it. These guys showed me that some of the greatest musicians never get any radio play (or at least not on radio stations around here). They really shaped my love for Southern rock and the music that has been coming out of the south for years. Some people say these guys are bringing back southern rock or they are the “new” Lynyrd Skynyrd. You can call them whatever you want, but I think most people can agree that they are some talented musicians that are making real honest music and people are digging it!
Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire”
I’m not exactly sure where the first time I heard this song was, or even when I heard it, but I do know I sang this song all the time as a kid and I’m sure annoyed my parents with it. This gem of a song by Johnny Cash formed my love for the man in black. No matter who you are or what kind of music you like, you have heard one of this man’s iconic songs at some point in your life. Songs like “I Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues” made him famous but he had so many more songs that were just as good. He shaped my love for classic and outlaw country, as well as some blues. Johnny Cash is one of those musicians that will always be iconic to any generation.
Robert Earl Keen – “Mr. Wolf and Mamabear”
When someone asks me, “What’s your favorite song?” this is what I respond with. This has been my all time favorite song since I was a little girl, before I even knew what most of the song was about, and to be quite honest it still doesn’t make that much sense to me. I just know the meaning of the words now. No, this isn’t some philosophical song that has some deep meaning about life, nor is it about love of any kind. It’s exactly what the title says it’s about: Mr. Wolf and Mamabear. I know the first time I heard this phenomenal song I was riding in the Buick. Again, like all my favorite songs, from the first few seconds I heard it I loved it. I remember loving it so much I wanted to show all my classmates this amazing song when I was in the 1st grade; granted, the song talks about smoking opium and calling the “dogs of war” (I just suggest you listen to the song to understand), but I was still so devastated when my parents told me I couldn’t show the children at my private Christian school I was attending at the time. This one will always be my favorite song, and I have no clue why, but it’s great.
Tom Petty – “Anything That’s Rock n Roll”
Tom Petty’s music, style, and attitude is just too cool. I don’t think there is one Tom Petty song I’ve ever heard that I didn’t like. I could try to list 10 of my favorite Tom Petty songs and I would still have a tough time doing it; just picking one of his songs was difficult, to say the least. This one is off the band’s Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers debut album, which has the 2 singles “American Girl” and “Breakdown” that made Tom Petty a household name. Though this one was only released as a single in the UK and still doesn’t have nearly the recognition in the US as it I think it should, nevertheless it’s a great track off of a great album which has had a huge influence on my love of music.
I could have listed 100 songs that have had an influence on me through the years, but most of the songs listed here I heard when I was pretty young and they had a huge impact on me as a little kid; I think that says something about the songs and the artists. I’m pretty certain without that Buick and the CDs/Mixtapes I would have had a majorly different taste in music, and probably would not be doing music photography. So kudos to that Buick.