Jason James
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Jason James

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Country


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3 song EP coming Fall 2010.



Nashville’s Lower Broadway is a proven training ground for country music’s future hit makers. Stars like Dierks Bentley and Terri Clark developed their style, persona, and repertoire in the crowded rowdy honkytonks. Each year, a multitude of hopefuls relocate to Music City for a new career, a new life, or to pursue a wild dream. In 2001, Jason James was among the transplants to set his dream in motion.

The tattoo on his arm reads “Mama Tried”, the famous phrasing from Merle Haggard’s hit song and tonight, James is playing to a packed out bar on Lower Broadway, and he’s playing with a different tune.

Hailing from Americus, Georgia, James speaks with an unparalleled tone and a drawl as thick as the Georgia heat. With a distinctive timbre, James pumps out 240 non-stop minutes of country music filled with red clay dirt and emotion. While his image serves as an obvious contrast to his vocals, James just happens to have a thick country voice and be from a small town. His style is all his own, and his music is even more personal.

At age 10, James received his first guitar as a gift from his grandfather, bought from a shop in Cordele, Georgia.

“I took lessons for about six months, until my grades began to suffer. My Dad told me to choose between guitar and baseball. I chose baseball.”

James put the guitar down until he was 12, at which time he revived his passion for playing. James spent the next 10 years playing in various praise bands and youth groups for churches. James also attended Georgia Southwestern State University, but it wasn’t long before the call of music rang the loudest.

Not long after relocating to Nashville, James tuned deeper into his writing ability. In 2008, James was recruited for a development deal where he could further enhance his self-penned song by collaborating with writers such as Ashe Underwood (Just Might Have Her Radio On, Drunker Than Me), Brian White (Watching You), Arlos Smith (Home to You, Mayberry), Tim Rushlow (of Little Texas), and Jim Femino (Just Got Started Lovin’ You).

James comments, “My songs are about women and drinkin’ … what else is there? No, I’m kidding. My songs that I write and the songs I record are mostly about my life, but also about the lives of people like me who come from the small towns, the country, people I can relate to all too well.”

The rush of performing keeps James coming back for more, night after night, “My favorite thing about performing is taking people on a ride. Watching them as they feel the emotions in the song while I sing it and hearing them sing it back to me.”

His first gig was the dinner shift at Second Fiddle, a cozy honkytonk tucked between The World Famous Tootsies’ Orchid Lounge and The Stage. After making the rounds on Lower Broad, James found a promising home at a new establishment directly across the street from where he started. Paradise Park welcomed James and his band to the late night, rowdy crowd mixed with typical tourists, college students, and locals who wanted an escape from the standard honkytonk show. Within a few weeks he turned an empty room into a packed house twice a week. His tenure and high-energy show provided him with invitations to perform at private functions for John Rich (Big & Rich) and at CMA and CMT Awards after-parties.

If the stage is a natural home for James, then the crowd is his family. He recalls, “There was a night that I may have had one too many drinks and stripped down to my boxers, my cowboy boots, and my Hank hat and played for an hour and a half like this and then decided crowdsurfing would be a great idea. I crowdsurfed in my boxers. I feel sorry for those people. They didn’t drop me either, so, maybe they enjoyed it.”

Inherently able to connect with his audience, James’ modestly credits the crowd as his source of energy and motivation, “The more energy they give out, the more I respond. I’ll go crazy if they will,” he says with a laugh.

Everyone has heroes, and James is no different. “Garth [Brooks] – what an entertainer. Ropin’ the Wind was the first cassette tape I ever got. I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything but country and Christian music growin’ up. Eventually I did sneak in some ‘devil music’ like Motley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses, and Aerosmith.”

“There was a period of time where I would just sit and watch Garth Brooks Live at Texas Stadium DVD and think … I’m going to do that.” I wanted to entertain the way Garth did.”

As James’ team expands and his catalog builds, he considers the future, “I want to make music that lasts. I want to entertain. Music is so many different things to people. I want to be able to share my music with them and give them a great show at the same time.”