Friday, November 20, 2009

Bad Habits

Colin James is one of my all time favorite musicians and if you've been around my site for any length of time, you know I have mentioned him here and there. We go and see him every time he is in town and this tour is no exception. We just scored tickets for his second sold out show here in Victoria for February and I can't wait. He is supporting the release of his latest album which I'm going to cover in a future post.

Colin James is an artist that Canadians know all about. Colin James grew up in Saskatchewan, listening to folk and blues. After learning the penny-whistle and mandolin, he quit school and worked with a succession of bands. I hadn't heard of him until I moved to Canada. He really needs more exposure in outside of his native Canada because he is truly a great blues guitarist. I guess you could say his big break came in 1984 when a band he was in got the gig for opening for Stevie Ray Vaughn in Regina. Vaughan was so impressed that he took James on the road with him to open several dates in the US. James first album debuted in 1988 and became the fastest-selling album in Canadian history. The biggest problem for Americans is, he doesn't tour the U.S. very much, and spends most of his time in Canada where his shows sell out instantly.

Bad Habits is a blues rock album by James, released in 1995. I say this as James has another project called Colin James and the Little Big Band where his music is more swing oriented and they have released three albums. Bad Habits earned James the 1996 Juno Award for "Male Vocalist of the Year". This is a fine set of both original and cover material. Paring back the sound to the basic guitar, bass and drums, James uses horns and keyboards to color and accentuate certain tracks rather than overwhelm them. This is a five star effort that edges right into essential albums for any fan of music. There are several killer cuts from this album. In fact the first time I saw James perform Better Days live, I thought I was going to lose my mind. It sounded so damn good and he can positively make that guitar of his wail like nobody's business. So if you're unfamiliar with his work, you've got to give these two tunes a spin.

Better Days
Buy It

Funny Toon