Kalu and The Electric Joint
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Kalu and The Electric Joint

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Rock Psychedelic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Kalu James’ Feel Music"

The warmth, the soul, the voice, the smile, the presence that is Kalu James and his Thursday night residency at the Continental Club Gallery is fast becoming an Austin highlight. Tell the locals to get there early and plan to stay late. Tell tourists be prepared to heat the dancer floor in the intimate space.

James describes his music as “feel music – a blend of blues-rock and soul, with hints of African folk rhythm.” He began playing the South Congress speakeasy in 2013. Since then, the good vibes have been plentiful.

“I love that room, and we’re very grateful to be amongst the caliber of acts playing there,” affirms James. “There’s never a bad night at the Continental Club or Gallery, and I still get nervous before every show. I mean, you just never know who’s in the crowd watching.”

Rumor has it that the Austin singer-songwriter might be an African prince. Turns out he’s the son of a African chief.

“I lived in the Republic du Benin and was raised in a boarding house in Nigeria,” he reveals. “In trying to provide for the family, dad was always gone, but mom was always around. We had lots of love in the household. As the firstborn, I saw all that hard work pay off for my dad, who got wealthy and became a chief.

“I went to boarding school in Nigeria when I was 9. For the first time in my life, I was away from the comfort of family and pushed to fend for myself – learn the invaluable lessons of tolerance, interacting, and connecting with all sorts of people. This experience shaped my life and made me who I currently am.”

James moved to the U.S. in 2001 and didn’t return home until a few months ago for his father’s funeral. Before landing in Austin, he lived in Rochester, New York.

“I lived the life of a typical immigrant, which is to work 40 hours a week, send money home, and take 12 credits to maintain a financial aid package. Somehow, I fit music in there through open mics and gigging. The stress led to a breakdown, and my doctor advised that I take some time off from everything.

“During that break, my best friend whom I moved to the United States with got accepted into graduate school at University of Texas.

“It took a DirecTV all-access of South by Southwest 2007 to make up my mind to move here. After five days of watching that, I drove my multicolored-held-together-with-parts-that-fit 1998 Ford Escort to Austin and have never left.”

James describes Nigeria as a continent different to the one he grew up on. Through technology and social media, he now sees more and more artists promoting the heritage of his people. He grew up listening to a musical melting pot, everything from Afro-beat, reggae, and funk to pop, hip-hop, and disco.

One day he’d hear Fela Kuti, Ali Farka Toure, or Youssou N’dour. The next day, he’d be listening to Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, and Tracy Chapman.

“Growing in up in Africa certainly created the tension and influenced the subject matter that I choose to explore in my songs,” he explains. “I was a very shy kid, but opinionated. In Africa, you never talked back to your parents or elders. Doing so warranted some serious punishment, which ranged from strokes of the cane to riding an imaginary bicycle.

“So I became more of an observer, and spent a lot of time writing poems and singing in the choir. I enjoyed the exploration of stories and flushing of emotions.”

His father wasn’t initially supportive of a career in music, but the two resolved their issues the last time they saw each other.

“There was some strain between us for a while,” says James, “but in 2013 he came to visit and saw me perform for the first time during the HEB Mueller opening. After the show he said to me, ‘I can see that this is what you want to do with your life, and I will support you whichever way I can.’

“The memories of his visit here is the best time I ever had with him because he finally accepted me.”

Kalu James remains a powerfully positive person. He admits he can be stubborn – “Don’t always take it on the chin. You gotta swing and duck sometimes!” – and likes to cite Bob Marley:

“The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off, so why should I?” - Austin Chronicle

"The Release, The Connection"

On a video on his website, Nigerian-born Austin-based songwriter Kalu James and a few of his band mates offer some insight into the making of James’ latest project, the double album The Offering: Flesh and Bone.

There are, of course, the immediately obvious differences between the two albums; the recently released Flesh kicks things up a notch with a more vigorous, steadfast electric-based side of James’ unique blend of rock, soul, blues and African folk, while the forthcoming Bone comes from a more acoustic angle. But for James, there is a tremendous amount of passion – and compassion – that goes into his creative process. Making music has simultaneously been a release of emotion, and a connection to the people he shares his music with.

Kalu James is starting a December residency tonight at The Continental Club Gallery, 1315 S. Congress Ave., upstairs above the main venue. His set begins at 10:30 p.m. You will be moved. Recommended. - KUTX

"..."James' rich tenor carries the set. A bright personality and swaths of soul, rock, folk, and reggae will make him a favorite...""

http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/review?oid=oid%3A696284 - Austin Chronicle Review

"it was like hearing Aaron Neville with the lyrics of Bob Dylan"

This was written in Austin360.com and below is the link:


By Amy hunter

His name is Kalu James. He is from West Africa by way of Rochester, New York. i was just blown away. the songwriting and voice stunned me. it was like hearing Aaron Neville with the lyrics of Bob Dylan. This guy is so talented and his well of creativity is bottomless. - Austin 360

"fan mail"

... His music is truly addictive, a jolt of energy and a soothing presence all in the same note. I can listen to it for hours, and get an entirely different feeling about each of the songs the second and third and fourth time around.

Whether he's playing solo or with additional instrumentals, everybody stops to listen, and waits until he's done to continue their routine, be it a trip to the counter for another beer, or a trip to the restroom, all of it gets put on hold until his magical lyrics have been heard.

Rarely, have I ever heard a song, an artist, a person who was able to captivate me entirely with their music.

- Excerpts from a Fan mail

"The War Outside:Flipside Blog"

http://www.yorkblog.com/flipside/2007/08/the_war_outside.html#more - yorkblog.com

"Live Performance"

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/myfox/pages/Home/Detail;jsessionid=BC56710938C7C635AF1FE6412BB34385?contentId=7697731&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1 - Fox "Music in the Morning"

"Interview with Austin Daze"

http://www.austindaze.com/2008/09/22/kahlu-james/ - Austin Daze


Dim The Lights, Live, The Offering:Flesh



There is a connection between the roots and the future. An air filled with music. A beautiful collision between time. Love and life. 

The core of Kalu is here. 

In that, a fervent adventure into the willingness of soul and mind. Deep blue laden transmission of music steeped in passion and relevance.

With Gut-bucket grandeur & powerful emotive delivery, Kalu James'  dynamic tenor soars over the elusive electric joint.


Kalu James - Vocals, Guitar, Songwriter

JT Holt(Papa Mali, Dertybyrd, Cody Jasper) - Lapsteel, Guitar, Songwriter

Nick Jay(Jonathan Terrell & The Northern Lights, Life)- Bass, Background Vocals

Alex Marrero(Brownout, Brown Sabbath, Mudphonics) - Drums, Background Vocals

John Speice (Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Brown Sabbath, Ocote Soul Sounds) - Precussions

Band Members