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Oct. 4 - Derrick tavern, Houston TX

Oct. 11 - Lucky Lounge, Austin CD Release, Austin TX

Oct. 16 Taco’s with O’Toole (Rich O’Toole), Corpus Christi TC

Nov. 26 - Vino Mio, Corpus Christi TX

Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud: StevenJamesTX



Picking Up Where He Left Off

STEAM  With the recent success of The Shake Down’s “Hold On” why did you decide to begin a solo career?

SJ  When I first moved to South Texas, I was playing as a solo artist under the name "Steven James." When I met the guys who ended up forming The Shake Down with me, we were actually called Steven James & The Shake Down. I still see some of those shirts around town too, ha. So anyway, we released our debut full-length album last fall as The Shake Down, and we recorded with legendary producer, Dylan Ely of Loop Studios in Corpus Christi.

We toured hard on that album and I think this spring the guys in the band and I got burned out on playing those 12 songs night after night in clubs and bars throughout Texas, so we took some time off. My drummer left because his wife had a baby; my bass player took time off to raise his new baby girl, and Dylan, who became our manager, was on tour with the Backstreet Boys in Europe for three months.

Suddenly, I found myself on my own musically for the first time in about four years. So, I had these songs on the back burner that are a little more Southern Rock, or Texas Country Rock, as you could say, and I decided to get back in the studio and lay them down. You could say that really, I've come full-circle. I came to town as Steven James and now I've picked that project back up.


STEAM  What inspires the music you write?

SJ  You know, for the longest time I wanted to write about these big adventures and grand situations that I imagined and wanted to be a part of, but in the end, really wasn't. I wanted to be from New York, or L.A. so bad. But I think the best thing that happened to me was embracing who I really am and writing about that. I'm a Texan, born and raised. I songs about late nights, roller-coaster relationships and having a good time in the places you love. So that's really what I've gotten back to. This solo project is about my life, my feelings and my memories.


STEAM  Tell us about the new cd. Who did you record with and where?

SJ  Well, I don't know if you know my backstory, but I went to college in Austin after growing up in Houston. I played in a few bands there with my best friends and at some point or another we all grew up and went our separate ways. But while I was there, I recorded with a very well-respected producer there, Lars Goransson who owns Sounds Outrageous Studios, located in the South Austin hills.

I did an album with him probably back in 2005 and it was an awesome experience, but we hadn't talked since. About a year ago, I saw him comment on one of my friends' Facebook posts and I reached out to him. It was as if nothing had changed. Seven years later we were buddies all over again. So he started asking if I wanted to do some recording and at the time, The Shake Down was going really strong so I kind of held off, but then in May I found myself on my own with these batch of songs that I think are the best I've written in 20 years of writing songs.

And if you've never been to Lars' studio, it's insane! He is a gear nut! The microphone I sang on was the one owned by the Rolling Stones and used on "Exile On Main Street" (one of my all-time favorite records). It was later sold off and used on Led Zepplin IV and some Bob Marley records. I was just tripping out thinking that I was singing in the same mic as Mick Jagger or Robert Plant. That's just the tip of the iceberg. He has all these amazing vintage guitars, organs and recording consoles that give his recordings a certain sound that I haven't found anywhere else.


STEAM  With the few cover songs you do, how did you choose which songs fit your style?

SJ  Ah covers. The two-headed beast. I like what Robert Johnson said about how he would never play covers again because he didn't want to make someone else money. I play songs that are fun to play, I actually enjoy listening to and that I know will get people on the dance floor. That is a must.

"Mary Jane's Last Dance" by Tom Petty ALWAYS picks up the mood in the room if things are feeling a little slow. "Don't Let Me Down" by the Beatles is another favorite of mine to play. There are also some great ballads that I've learned from playing some friends' weddings. The Elvis version of"Fools Rush In" is another killer cover.


STEAM  You recently played in Los Angles for a CD release party, where was that at? Do you plan on doing more tours like this?

SJ  We booked a show at Room 5 Lounge in West Hollywood which is a really cool, intimate spot in the heart of Los Angeles. But I'm sad to say they will be closing down soon. I was like "I just got to know you guys and now you're leaving???" They've been really good to me, but they will likely open another venue so it's all good. My plan is to play major Texas cities through most of the year and book shows in L.A. and Nashville every two or three months to keep up with the scene out there.

I just went to Nashville for my first time about two months ago and it blew my mind! Everybody is on their GAME there. You can go to any bar any night of the week, and you'll hear a very talented, very professional musician (or five) playing onstage. And what I love is how everyone supports everyone else. Songwriter shows are popular there, where you'll have several people with guitars onstage at once and everybody just swaps songs. It's really cool.

We keep adding shows, so I hope people will keep up with us on our official website, and Facebook and Twitter.  


STEAM  Is there anything that I have missed? Or do you have something you’d like to share?

SJ  I would just like to thank all of the fans we've made so far along the way. We've only put two songs out so far, but the reception has been amazing, not just in Texas, but all over the world. We've been getting radio play in Paris, France; Cincinnati, OH; London, England; Baltimore, Maryland. It's just been insane. I hope people check back in with us because we've got more tunes and music videos we are going to release this fall and please don't hesitate to ask us to come play your city or play with your band. Hotel rooms are my favorite places in the world.


Oct. 4 - Derrick tavern, Houston TX

Oct. 11 - Lucky Lounge, Austin CD Release, Austin TX

Oct. 16 Taco’s with O’Toole (Rich O’Toole), Corpus Christi TC

Nov. 26 - Vino Mio, Corpus Christi TX

Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud: StevenJamesTX



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