Theatre Performances - Colin James Blues Trio
Colin James Blues Trio
Showtime: Friday, February 21, 2020
Location: Hammerson Hall
Tickets: $50.00 and up (HST included, service fees extra)
Show suitable for: All Ages
With his recently released 19th album, Miles to Go, Colin James is getting back to the blues.
Wait a minute, you ask: hasn’t Colin James always played the blues?
Well, yes, but back when he was signed to his first record deal in 1988, his producer—who’d worked with Ray Charles and Derek and the Dominoes—explicitly told him not to play any blues, because the label expected a pop hit. When James later made one of the biggest albums of his career—1993’s Colin James and the Little Big Band, released years before the so-called “swing revival”—his label hated it, as did critics and many fans before it went on to go triple platinum in Canada!
It wasn’t until 2016’s Blue Highways that James found himself on a blues chart; the album spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Roots Music Report’s Blues Chart. It also landed him one of his biggest hits: “Riding in the Moonlight,” a Willie Dixon song that James once covered when busking in the streets and subways of Toronto and Montreal, landed on a Spotify playlist and garnered millions of streams.
As with much blues music, it’s the performances on the original versions rather than the actual song that drew James to them. That said, what could he possibly bring to them in 2018? “You bring what you can,” James says. “If I feel like I’ve brought enough, then I put it out. I knocked a bunch of songs off this record when I realized that I can’t bring anything to them that isn’t there already. All my life I’ve tried to bring vitality to older songs. Hopefully my dedication to it is what floats it over the mark.”
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