Ginger St. James cleverly blends blues, country & rock and roll music, like a bartendermixing a million dollar drink, night after night.
This Hamilton based singer / songwriter, has performed as a guest with many well known bands. Including Juno award winner Jack de Kyzer, Blue Coupe (Members of Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper), Gord Lewis (Teenage Head) & Terry Wilkins (former bass player for Big Sugar).
MS. ST. James, first stepped foot on a stage as a classic Burlesque performer. Mixing comedy, cabaret & show tunes. After many years as a dancer, Ginger switched to good old Honky Tonk, Blues & Rock n Roll music. Performing such covers, Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of FIre" & Gingers orngaial tune, "Lonley Cryin Blues".
Ginger St. James is an award winning artist. Ginger won "Alt. Country Record of the Year" was nomineed for "Female Artist of the Year " & "Female Vocalist of the Year" at the 2010 Hamilton Music Awards.
"Ginger St. James offers up the total package when she performs, great vocals with a throw back twang, a fine musician with deadly good looks to match - a true entertainer on the mic!" - Jay Stoyan, The Jay Stoyan show with Sandy Duarte.
"A sultry singer with a surprisingly lithe and powerful voice, razor wit an vaudevillian sense of showmanship. Its no put-on."
- Hamilton Magazine
"When I first heard them on her website (myspace.com/gingerstjames), I thought she was singing covers of long lost songs."One, called The Boom Boom Room, is filled with the double entendre of the wink songs of the '30s with Ginger teasingly inviting you into her "boom boom room." Another, Swing About You, is a coy little enticer that could easily have been written for Louis Armstrong."
- Graham Rockingham. The Hamilton Spectator
"Ginger St. James is a wily performer whose inhibitons is only rivaled by her talent in both burlesque and in song"
-Ric Taylor, View Magazine
"From the moment she stepped on stage the crowd was spellbound. They were treated to one of the most exciting acts in Hamilton.
- Brian Furlong, Art Hus
"She is and adept and experienced artist in her own rights, and exudes star power wherever she goes. She certainly has the talent, drive and looks to take her far in this industry."
- Bruce Hotchies, Daze Management. Scotland.
Ginger St. James - Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Snow-heel Slim - Vocals, Lead Guitar
Tyrone Ramsey - Upright Bass
Greg Brisco - Keyboards, Vocals
Andre Tellier - Drums
Spank, Sparkle & Growl. 2010
Christmas Wish at the End of the Bar - The Vanishers ft Ginger St. James 2009
ST. James Steams up the Station
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The local entertainment scene will heat up this weekend with a double dose of cabaret performance ar...The local entertainment scene will heat up this weekend with a double dose of cabaret performance artist Ginger St. James on Valentine's Day.
St. James, whose mother and sister live in Brantford, has performed in the city before, at the Station Coffee House and Gallery in the CNR Station. She'll make a return visit there on Sunday, for a matinee performance, before she takes the stage for an evening show at Two Doors Down on Market Street.
"It will be a mellower show" at the Station, says St. James, who was interviewed earlier this week. "It's the first time I'll be in Brantford with the band. I've played solo there before, but not with my boys."
The sultry songstress, a moniker that she has earned with her steamy solo performances, as well as with her extremely popular and titillating burlesque act, will help mark the Station's one-year anniversary.
However, St. James, voted best female artist and sexiest Hamiltonian by View Magazine last year, is in love with the idea of playing cupid.
"All of my songs lend themselves to performing on Valentine's Day," she laughs. The self-confessed "romantic" says her ideal Valentine's Day would include a "foot rub" from her favourite beau. "Just to be in love all day," she says.
"I don't show that side of myself very often, but I'm a real softie," says the brassy performer.
Apart from working on her new CD, suggestively entitled Spank, Sparkle and Growl, with her band the Grinders, which consists of rockabilly artist Snow-Heel Slim of the Boogie Infection on guitar and vocals, Tyrone Ramsey on upright bass, Andre Arriva on drums and Greg Brisco on keyboard.
She's also been busily pursuing acting roles in indie films, as well as performing in her vaudeville show, Var ietease, which sold out the Corktown Tavern in Hamilton. The show includes magic, comedy and burlesque, St. James says.
"I plan to do more of those shows," the performer, who now lives in Toronto, says. "I have the opportunity to do bigger productions in bigger venues; so that's exciting."
St. James's act, which can best be described as a potent cocktail of vaudeville, cabaret, rock and roll and tease, began on Toronto's burlesque circuit. She performed with Les Coquettes before starting her own troupe, the Steeltown Sirens.
"It all started on the burlesque circuit about eight years ago. I was in theatre at the time, but I've always been a bit of a ham."
For someone who grew up in the Hamilton suburbs of Stoney Creek and Binbrook, St. James's sassy and sexy character has left a trail of broken hearts across the club circuit. Her success is certainly attributable to her many talents, but a resurgence in public interest in live shows also has helped propel her into the limelight.
"A live show is totally different than watching TV, which you can do any time. There's a resurgence of live shows in Toronto, where it's huge.
"The hard work is paying off. I really have come a long way. I'm glad that I get to incorporate everything into my performances."
St. James is planning a CD release show on May 15 in Toronto, but she promised there would be a separate launch for Brantford, to give her many local fans their Ginger fix.
Ginger spanks, sparkles and growls!
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May 13, 2010 Graham Rockingham The Hamilton Spectator (May 13, 2010) A year ago, Ginger St. J... May 13, 2010
The Hamilton Spectator
(May 13, 2010)
A year ago, Ginger St. James moved to Toronto looking for a new band and a way to jump-start her singing career.
She met a lot of new musical friends, played a lot of new venues and experimented with some new sounds.
But ultimately she found her new band -- The Grinders -- and the sound she was looking for back home in Hamilton.
"I moved to Toronto and then formed a band here," Ginger laughs over coffee at a Locke Street eatery. She enjoys the irony.
On Saturday, she'll be introducing The Grinders to her new friends with a special CD release party at the Cadillac Lounge on Queen Street West in Toronto.
Then, on Sunday, Ginger will bring the band back to Hamilton for a wild homecoming at This Ain't Hollywood on James Street North.
Ginger had established a solid reputation on the Hamilton and Burlington club circuit with a saucy stage act that was part high-heel burlesque and part old-school country rock. Like an exotic Patsy Cline or Wanda Jackson in fishnets, tassels and Mae West boa.
A year ago, Ginger decided to spread her wings and try her luck in Hogtown. She found a room in a Parkdale house with a group of musicians who held bluegrass parties every weekend.
Ginger, who grew up on a Binbrook farm, had a few contact names she'd collected from Hamilton musicians such as Lori Yates and soon fell in with the Toronto blues scene, singing with people like Wild T, Jack de Keyzer and Jerome Godboo in places like Grossman's and the Silver Dollar. She also made new friends in the Toronto burlesque world, partnering with a magician called Mysterion for weekly variety nights on the Queen Street strip.
In Toronto, Ginger found people who wanted to mould her into a jazz chanteuse, slinky and sexy. It looked right on paper, but it was a little too stiff for Ginger.
She had a made-in-Hamilton rockabilly heart.
"I tried to play with Toronto people but it just wasn't the same," says Ginger, who goes under the name Deana Fletcher when not onstage. "It's a totally different sound. They were trying to make me into a jazz singer. I was told that I was too rock 'n' roll. They wanted to have everything structured and charted. I don't work well like that."
She called up Snow-Heel Slim, a guitarist friend in Hamilton, and told him of her frustrations.
They put together a band within a matter of days. Fellow Hamilton Tyrone Ramsey joined them on upright bass, while old friend Greg Brisco sat in on keyboards. Ginger brought along Andre Tellier, a drummer she had worked with at Grossman's. It was the sound Ginger had been looking for -- tight musicianship, but loose enough to let Ginger do her "thing" onstage.
"Everybody in Toronto was suddenly asking 'where'd you get that band, that great sound?'" she says. "And I'd tell them, 'in Hamilton.'"
Ginger now found herself living in Toronto, but spending more time in Hamilton. Rehearsals led to studio time. She had written a few songs for her act, and now had a band she felt comfortable recording them with.
Now Ginger has a six-song EP. The title speaks for the music inside -- Spank, Sparkle and Growl. She's also moved back to Hamilton. She's not turning her back on Toronto. She just feels more comfortable here.
"There's such a musical community in Hamilton. In Toronto, it's so segregated. It's not one big circle like here. There wasn't a sense of belonging."
Ginger St. James
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Ginger St. James There are some performers who just belong on a stage. When a younger Ginger St....Ginger St. James
There are some performers who just belong on a stage. When a younger Ginger St. James was growing up she always had a song on her lips, and a yearning in her heart.
It wasn’t until perhaps 2002 when she entered the world of burlesque and created an alter ego that would not only foster her gregarious, if not exhibitionist tendencies but more importantly it would get her singing on stages. As part of the Steel City Sirens, she’d lead a troupe of women willing to bare all, or most of it – but the songs were still where the vaudeville burlesque performer and the promoter/ organizer/ business woman still found the most joy.
Always drawn to the music of a long bygone era – whether it be swing, country, rockabilly, tin pan alley, jazz, blues and otherwise – St. James began writing songs that seemed out of the popular realm of music but still deceivingly familiar. Eventually tracking down a clutch of like minded musicians – the aptly titled Grinders that include Snow–Heel Slim (guitar), Greg Brisco (piano), Tyrone Ramsey (bass), Andre Tellier (drums) – Ginger St. James offers an introduction to her true love and her very real talents.
With a new band with her long awaited debut CD, Spank, Sparkle and Growl – it’d be safe to say St. James can retain the name of siren.
“It’s a title that will stick out in people’s minds and I think it describes the music and me perfectly,” notes St. James. “I think the songs sum up what I am and what I can offer as both a performer and songwriter. I really like that we are able to play a variety of genres, and grind ‘em up. We are a very versatile band. I am so happy that I can include everything I love into one show. Vaudeville, burlesque and all the genres of music I grew up with. I knew I could make it work, and I'm glad I found a way how.
“My audience is surprisingly diverse,” she adds. “It spans young to old and I think it’s because of the variety of music I play that I can connect with everyone. My oldest fan is 92, his name is Verne and he’s cute.”
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Mark Brewer at Platinum Entertainment in Hamilton captures a taste of the Grinders firing on four cylinders over six songs.
“I didn’t want to rush recording anything, and every time I tried to put something down it just wasn’t quite right which was frustrating,” notes St. James. “But I’m glad I’ve been able to take the time to put something together that represents the songs I’ve written. I’ve done a lot of work in the past few years, and learned quite a bit about the craft of songwriting. I am glad to have something that I can be proud of.
Starring in the stage production of Cabaret or offering a supporting role in the local indie flick, Lucky 7, or even the music video for local band the Vanishers’ holiday diddy, “Christmas Wish At The End of the Bar”, St. James has undeniable star quality when the spotlight comes on. She has much to be proud of but this disc finally will open some more doors and it begins with a right rip roaring kickoff at this weekend’s CD release.
“Being a movie star wouldn’t be half–bad,” ruminates St. James on the prospect. “I’ve done a few things, Lucky 7 is the latest project it’s in post production right now and I’m doing a small role in another indie film at the end of May. The Vanishers’ video was my first music video but it certainly won’t be the last. I felt like a princess that day. The Vanishers are dead sexy, throat–punching, toe tappin’ country at its finest. It was so much fun to do and I just love the Vanishers. I’m stoked they are going to be playing for my CD release.
“Hamilton is so inspiring and important to me,” she adds. “The support of the local music community and fans is something I haven’t felt anywhere else. It definitely has a tangible effect on what and how I create. It is a one of a kind city that I’m proud to call home. I was asked at the Toronto Blues Society Christmas party how I got my band to sound like the way they did and I replied, ‘Hamilton.’”
Ginger St. James and The Grinders play this Sunday May 16 at This Ain’t Hollywood with the Vanishers, Fionna Flauntit and more. Show gets underway at 8pm and $10 gets you in. Click on gingerstjames.com V
Ginger St. James & The Grinders take home Alt/Country Recording of the Year 2010 HMA
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Congratulations to Ginger St. James & The Grinders for Winning the Alt/Country Recording of The Year...Congratulations to Ginger St. James & The Grinders for Winning the Alt/Country Recording of The Year Award at the 2010 ArcelorMittal Dofasco Hamilton Music Awards
On November 21, Ginger St. James and the Grinders were honoured to take home a trophy from the Hamilton Music Awards for Alt/Country Recording of the Year Spank, Sparkle & Growl.
" I am thrilled with this award. We all worked so hard, blood, sweat, tears and a few hangovers. One of the more difficult things I have done, but proud to have accomplished and written an award winning album. This sets the bar for the next round. I can't wait!" said St. James
There are no upcoming dates at this time.