Steve James is a blues musician, a notable songwriter (Talco Girl, Farewell The Roses, Sonny Payne, Birmingham Steel to name a few), one of the best modern bottleneck slide players, a storyteller and a compendium of interesting facts. In the world of contemporary acoustic and roots music, he’s earned his reputation with decades of tireless international touring, a stack of solo recordings, a funny, kinetic stage presence and an unmistakable style of playing and singing.
He’s shared his creative instrumental approach on guitar, slide guitar and mandolin with books, print lessons, DVDs and on-line tutorials for Acoustic Guitar and Homespun.
His own recordings engage with other top notch musicians- Cindy Cashdollar, the Bad Livers, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Del Rey and a host of others. As a sideman, both on stage and on record, he’s played with Howard Armstrong, Bo Diddley, John Hammond, Maria Muldaur, Furry Lewis and James McMurtry…he often gets a shout-out to “get on up here” from the likes of Tommy Emmanuel, Hot Tuna or Chip Taylor. Hehas appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion”, “Austin City Limits Live”, “NPR Morning Edition” and many other syndicated broadcasts worldwide.
Steve James was born in NYC on the 15 July, 1950. His father collected records and was an amateur guitarist. Steve started teaching himself guitar from age 12. After high school he worked various jobs and for guitar maker Michael Gurian. He moved to music-rich East Tennessee in the early ’70s, where he met and was influenced by Sam McGee. He went to Memphis from 1975-’77, where he hosted a radio show on WEVLfm, performed solo and accompanied Furry Lewis and Lum Guffin. He then moved to Texas 1977-2015. In Texas he performed solo and led a small electric combo with saxophonist Clifford Scott and drummer Bobby Irwin at area clubs, concerts, festivals. His solo acoustic albums began to appear regularly after 1988 and he toured all over N. and S. America, Europe and Australia.
In 2014 he started a band dedicated to East Texas juke joint music (especially Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb) with singer and drummer Pip Gillette called The Camp Streeters.