Vinnie James

Vinnie James

BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

ROLLING STONE: "...an extremely penetrating new voice..." PLAYBOY: "...James hits the mark..." THE WASHINGTON POST: "...his writing exhibits a developed, analytical (and self-analytical) maturity."

Biography

The Vinnie James Bio

Website: www.vinniejames.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/vinniejames

David Wilde, of Rolling Stone, calls Vinnie James, "...an extremely penetrating new voice..." And Mike Boehm of the Los Angeles Times, hails Vinnie's music as, "full of fire and in your face passion."

Educated on the streets of Newark, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, Vinnie James is part Native American, part African, and 100% fire and street-wise passion. And you'd never guess from his humble attitude, that this ex-homeless man is now being hailed by critics as one of the most relevant songwriters of this generation, having already gained widespread acclaim, a charting single, a Grammy nomination for his RCA debut, "All American Boy," and major shows and tours with Sade, Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Pam Tillis, STYX, Julia Fordham, and Carole King, who invited Vinnie back to the stage each night of the tour, to join her in a show-stopping rendition of her legendary song: "Locomotion."

Vinnie's music is the classic "Jersey Shore Sound," made popular by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, along with Little Steven Van Zandt and Southside Johnny (both of whom James has worked with). Like his legendary contemporaries, at the center of Vinnie's sound, is his raw, dusky vocal style, described by the Los Angeles Times as, "a husky, soul-tinged voice that recalls Graham Parker or Bob Seger..." and that, "...bristles with vigor, alarm and a prophet's conviction..."

"My vocal style comes from New Jersey summer nights, haunted by the sounds of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, and Percy Sledge" reflects James, lounging in the incense cloud of the studio control room. "My main lyrical influences are Jackson Browne, Mickey Newbury, and Marvin Gaye, along with poets like Khalil Gibran and Robert Frost." He takes a puff from his hand-rolled cigarette, then continues, "...but when it comes to my percussive acoustic guitar technique, I'd have to say, my biggest influence is Richie Havens, no question."

"Some would call my sound Roots or Americana," says James, picking up his Taylor guitar. He breaks into the "shika, shika" percussive strumming style that's become his trademark, flashes his infectious, "naughty-boy" grin, and adds, "...I call it, 'a patchouli-scented, love-powered acoustic jackhammer,'" he chuckles, and adds, "I also call it 'folk n soul,' which basically takes a raw, funky, grassroots folk style, and infuses it with influences from blues, hip-hop, gospel, and above all... 60's soul."

Described as "a master wordsmith," by Maxine Jewett, President of the Southwest Acoustic Music Association, Vinnie James pens songs that take you from deeply moving lyrical journeys, to powerfully raw, full-blown acoustic-based grinders, pulsating with hypnotic, tribal rhythms, complete with drums, bass and world instruments, all laced with Vinnie's soulful vocals and his signature "acoustic jackhammer" guitar playing.

Jim McKenna, who heads the Glasgow Festival of Songwriting, calls Vinnie James, an "astonishing songwriter," who's songs explore themes ranging from political injustice and social revolution, to love, lust and tragic loss; all written with intricate, well-crafted poetic images, showing a refreshing vulnerability and "old-soul" character.

Gil Griffin of the Washington Post, says of Vinnie James, "...his writing exhibits a developed, analytical (and self-analytical) maturity." Cary Darling of the Orange County Register adds that Vinnie's music, "has a folk edge and fits squarely in the singer-songwriter tradition of Springsteen, Graham Parker, Elvis Costello and John Hiatt."

"It's such an honor that so many new people are discovering my songs, and are so moved and inspired by them," James says, of his growing worldwide acclaim. "When I write, I'm really just trying to make sense of this complicated, and sometimes scary world. I think people are drawn to my songs because they're feeling a lot of the same emotions I'm expressing in words, and the songs help them find an outlet and a path of expression for those emotions."

Record industry icon David Geffen once called Vinnie James, "a distinctive multi-threat talent." Vinnie's newest offering, "Songs for the Long Journey," is the long-awaited follow-up to his acclaimed RCA/BMG debut. As you would expect from a songwriter of this caliber, "Songs for the Long Journey" is a rewarding showcase of talent, where Vinnie's vocal and lyrical skills, along with his signature percussive style of playing the acoustic guitar, are as powerful and evident as ever, and the critics are ecstatic.

In his extensive and glowing review of James' new album, written for the well-respected online Americana magazine HickoryWind.org, Jim Pipkin declares: "...If this CD had already been released, it would have easily made my Top Ten for 2006. I would be very surprised if it doesn't make the cut for 2007."

Additionally, Maxine Jewett, President of the Prestigious South

Lyrics

Hey Geronimo

Written By: Vinnie James

Hey Geronimo
© 2006 vinnie james
vinnie james music (PRS)

White men heard the war drums
thumpin in the night
they rode their wagons in a circle
up tight
they say that in a hundred years
won't be any red men left around here
maybe in a hundred years
they'll forget your trail of tears

So i said... hey geronimo
they're still stealing your horses...
don't you let 'em go... this time
hey geronimo...
they're still stealing your... (horses)

i see your torquoise
ain't it covered up with blood
i see your silver eagle
face down in the mud
maybe in a hundred years
your people will be free
maybe in a hundred years
they'll forget your wounded knee

so I said... hey geronimo
they're still stealin your horses
don't you let 'em go... this time
hey geronimo...
they're still stealin your horses
don't let 'em go.. no no
the hawk and the sparrow
and the wolf and the buffalo
wanted you to know

listen to me red man
better listen to me good
there are still some evil men who'd
forget you if they could
maybe in a hundred years
your land will be returned.... (right)
maybe in a hundred years
we pilgrims will have learned
no one's got time to burn no...

hey geronimo
they're still stealin your horses
don't you let 'em go... this time
hey geronimo...
they're still stealin your horses
don't let 'em go.. no no
the hawk and the sparrow
and the wolf and the buffalo
wanted you to know
the hawk and the sparrow
and the wolf and buffalo
refuse to go

Chant

Hello Angel

Written By: Vinnie James

Hello Angel
by Vinnie James

There's a place
beneath the western skyline
where angels wander wounded
and there's a price
all of them have paid
never to fly one minute elsewhere
and the ground grows hard
wherever they have fallen
and the chains they wear are heavy
and when they smile
it's only for a moment
and they never say their name out loud

and they trade flight...
just to hear the words: "Hello Angel"

Sometimes late... just before the sun sets
in the hour of the magic light
if you're still... and very... very quiet
they will gather and begin to sing...
and when they sing... you will be moved
but when it's over they will not remember you...

'cause they trade flight...
just to hear the words: "hello angel"

save your kisses... for the alter
and throw that angel feather in the fire
'cause once i had... enough to make me wings...
you see once i had... enought to make me wings...

they trade flight...
just to hear the words... "hello angel"

Homeless Man

Written By: © 2006 vinnie james

homeless man
© 2006 vinnie james
vinnie james music (PRS)

seven years old alone on the train
forty second street in the rain... and my mother says
"take seventy five cents... for the homeless man..."

i'm dodgin the manholes
feeling like i'm an island and... my mother says
"take seventy five cents... for the homeless man..."
and my mother says...
"take seventy five cents... for the homeless man..."

and she'd say that if they
pick your pocket on... madison square garden
chalk it up to experience... and if you
meet your soulmate in central park
keep your eye on your "ben franklin pie"
just a little tip
keep your eye on your "ben franklin pie"

business men don't seem so tall
like their towers they sometimes fall... so mother says
"take seventy five cents... for the homeless man..."
and my mother says...
"take seventy five cents... for the homeless man..."

and it's... hard for me to understand...
why there's a homeless man...

Discography

Songs for the Long Journey (Released Feb. 14, 2007)
All American Boy (Cypress/RCA/BMG)
Rubber Sole Compilation (Feat. Vinnie's "Save the World")
Musician Magazine "A Little on the CD Side Vol 7" (Feat. Vinnie's "Save the World").
Album Network Rock Tuneup #71 (Feat. Vinnie's Hey Geronimo).
Voices That Care (Warner Brothers)
WarSong (Special EP Release - RCA/BMG)
Antiqua (RCA/BMG - Pending Release)
Storm (Frontline/Graceland/Benson)

.........................................................

Set List

Vinnie's set list can vary depending on the venue, the audience and the requirements of the show environment. Vinnie's sets, usually solo with only acoustic guitar, typically last between forty-five minutes to one hour when he's the opening act and one and a half to two hours when he's headlining.

Typically, Vinnie does not do cover songs. On occasion he may do a John Prine cover or a Jackson Browne cover, but this is extremely rare and only under special circumstances such as when a request is made from a known and very prominent audience member.