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NATASHA JAMES is known for taking Roots music styles, turning them on their head, combining them, and coming out with tunes that are completely unique but totally familiar (Music Connection, Aug 2008) at the same time.
On her debut album, BAD JUDGEMENTS, she had the pleasure of working and recording with old friend and monster sax player, MARTIN FIERRO (Thelonius Monk, Jerry Garcia, Zero) and reknowned keyboardist AUSTIN DELONE, among other stellar talents. That CD launched the hit single, "The Restless Kind," (#10, ACQB), and got her music compared to Van Morrison (Americana Media Guide, Aug 2008) and her voice to Janis Joplin crossed with Joan Baez (Music Connection).
TEQUILA TIME, the latest release from this prolific troubadour from Northern California, finds her once again pushing the edges of the Roots Americana movement, and upping the rock ante. NATASHA JAMES once again has some stellar musicians in her line-up. They recorded 17 songs in 4 days, including getting tones, she said on KRCB in an interview and live performance this month (Mindy's Mix, KRCB, 91.1 FM, Rohnert Park, CA). Players include DAVE AGUILAR (Norton Buffalo), with whom she did a duet that night, IAN LAMSON (Elvin Bishop), STEVE EVANS (Coco Montoya, Elvin Bishop), HERMAN EBERITZSCH (Malo, Lee Oskar), and WOODY VERMEIRE (Commander Cody), all engineered by RONNIE RIVERA, who also plays the drums in this stellar line-up.
This band gets people up on their feet from rock, country, bluegrass and blues persuasions, all knocked out by the originality of the tunes and the quality of James' voice; at times like Bonnie Raitt, at times like Janis Joplin and Emmy Lou Harris (Music Connection). We saw kids as young as 15 outside a club stop and stare in at the windows, swaying to a James' original! While the record is great, the live performance is where this band REALLY shines...these guys are players, and it shows.
TEQUILA TIME debuted on the Roots Charts at #20 in the country, #19 in the state, and #23 internationally. Not bad for a sophomore record! Immediately, the write-ups starting pouring in....The Alternate Root (April), The Bohemian (April), The Sonoma Index Tribune (April), New Music Weekly (June), All Music Guide (June), Roots Rock n Blues (May), Music Connection (May)... TEQUILA TIME is available in most retail outlets and online everywhere. The video of the title track I hear will be out shortly on national television.
February 14, 2008
Natasha James MAY Have Made One or Two "Bad Judgements" Throughout Her Life… Releasing Her Debut Album Featuring the Hit Single, The Restless Kind Is Certainly Not One of Them!
"Country after country, it’s a landscape of the mind. So many lifetimes up ahead, so many left behind. Well, I guess, I always wanted them all, but only some of the time, I guess I was born, The Restless Kind." -- Natasha James
She's the consummate singer-songwriter and the kind of unique artist who can craft visuals merely through her songwriting. Natasha pens works that cross many musical genres and pull at the heartstrings all music lovers... especially country music enthusiasts. Natasha says, "Anytime I pick up my guitar or sit in front of a piano, I have the ability to write a song. I never intentionally try to pen a tricky hook or intricate melody. I write for myself based on stories that come from my life experiences." And she's had several of those.
Her debut single, The Restless Kind from the album Bad Judgements mirrors Natasha's rebellious side. She says, “I don't like a lot of rules. I even hate sidewalks. This particular song (the Restless Kind) reflects the stage in my life where I realized I had been blessed and attained many of the things I had desired including a great home in a nice neighborhood and kids that I love. I had consciously put my music aside to achieve many of these things. But as I moved forward in my life, I missed connecting with people through my music and was becoming... restless. My new album has brought me back to my music and my desire to connect with people through my recordings and live performances."
Natasha has in fact actually been the "restless kind" from a very young age. Born in San Francisco, and raised in Southern California, Switzerland, Italy and England, at 14 Natasha started playing and singing in local Los Angeles jazz and blues clubs. Two years later, she moved to San Francisco and worked the 'folksy' clubs: Coffee Gallery and the Boarding House, among others. After two years, she resumed modeling and acting in Los Angeles, studying at Lee Strassberg's while landing small roles as a character actress. Moving to Europe again at 18, she continued singing and playing folk-blues along with her own music while studying for a degree in languages and literature. Quitting school, she moved to London, then teamed up with a reggae band playing regularly upstairs at Ronnie Scott's and touring northern England. While in London, she ended up writing lyrics to a song composed by Jeff Hunter, which resulted in a move back to L.A. to continue recording, songwriting/arranging and performing with a number of different known and unknown artists.
By this time, Natasha James was modeling on a regular basis, working in films on both coasts, performing her own music in New York and Los Angeles and recording with other artists. She settled in New York City, playing local clubs with her band, Good 'N Dusty', and was being heard on WFMU as well as Channel J for Videophile.
Of late, Natasha James has been a Bay Area staple, performing and recording in different line-ups with material covering Country, Rock, Bluegrass, Blues, Jazz, Americana and Funk. Her favorite tracks on the album include "Just Enough" -- for its compositional value. She says, "I am most pleased with that one. In fact in all honesty, I'm astonished that I wrote it. Her tune, "Hey! Ho!" was written as a tongue-in-cheek exercise. She says, "I was performing it as a swing tune and drummer Terry Domingue (Merle Haggard) suggested we perform it with a New Orleans flair – and it worked." The composition "Even a Fool" rounds out the artists top three list of album faves. She concludes, "I love the process of writing and developing a song and especially collaborating with other songwriters. It MAKES you stretch when you work with somebody else and I enjoy that part of the exercise."
On performing live, Natasha's all about the crowd. She says, "I love the feedback and interaction of a live setting. I'm not a person that wants to perform in a vacuum. I once heard a very famous artist say to a live crowd, “ I'm not here to entertain you.” That's not me. I absolutely am. I'll change a set list or do whatever I need to roll with the feel of the crowd or take us on a journey together." Natasha concludes, "I feel so fortunate to do something I love as an artist."
As the title track says, "Bad judgements with good intentions have been my stock in trade. The warning signs and red flags go unheeded every time I see them at the gate." This is Natasha James' debut release on Highway One Records.
Album Track Listing: Bad Judgements, Even A Fool, The Restless Kind, Just Enough, Dead Calm, Harder, HEY! HO!, Life in the City, Sign Post, Second Best, Best Friend. Credits: USA for Africa, 'We are the World; Mothers and Children,' by Paul Jabarra and Roy Rede; 'Fit Kids' video for Bob Fish, Cyclops Records (made Billboard); Slipped, Tripped, Fell in Love,' Foghat, MTV video, Bearsville/Warner Records; songwriter for Emergency Records (producer Sergio Cossa), for Shannon. Co-wrote, 'How Long Can I Try,' with film-score composer, Jeff Hunter.