Colin James | News
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Colin James

Colin James - Miles to Go

Colin James announces new studio album – Miles To Go – out September 21

With his 19th album, Miles to Go (out Sept. 21, on Stony Plain Records in the USA and True North Records ROW), Colin James is getting back to the blues.

Miles to Go, Colin James’ ambitious sequel to the critically acclaimed Blue Highways, continues James’ story with a collection of carefully curated songs handpicked from some of the greatest blues artists.

In the months leading up to the recording, as James was reflecting on songs for the album he decided to reacquaint himself with a beautiful red Gibson ES-335.  It was just like the guitar he played as a teenager but regretfully had to sell for rent money.

While James reconnected with this guitar,  Miles to Go seemed to just flow onto the studio floor.

This album blends songs old and new, some of them completely reimagined and some almost perfect homages. But all are unified by a theme of undying love for the blues and the highest respect for the creators that led the way.

Known as one of Canada’s best blues musicians, 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 that landed on a Spotify playlist garnering millions of streams.

When James set out to make Blue Highways, an album of blues covers recorded with his touring band, he always intended it to be the first of two installments. Now we have Miles to Go, in which James records nine new covers of his favourite artists (Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Little Willie John, Robert Johnson, etc.) and adds two originals, “I Will Remain” and “40 Light Years.” “Blues has always been a pass-it-forward kind of thing,” says James. “It’s also surprisingly hard to write. You have to be careful how modern you get in your phrasing. Certain writers can write a song that sounds like it was done 40 years ago, but it’s deceptively hard.”

To be a blues musician is to always have a dialogue with the past.  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,” he 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. That’s a subjective thing; some people will always prefer the original. However, there’s always a group of people coming up to see me after a show who might say, “Oh, I never would have heard ‘One More Mile’ by James Cotton—nothing in my life would have pointed me there.”

So much of Colin James’s career has pointed him to this moment: joyfully tangled up in the blues, which, as he notes, “is the only genre where you can maintain a young profile at the age of 53.”

Colin wins at 2017 Independent Blues Awards

Colin has been awarded Best Independent Blues Rock CD in the 2017 Independent Blues Awards. Thanks to everyone who voted! Find out more at http://www.makingascene.org/independent-blues-awards-2017-winners/

Shows coming up this summer: Lethbridge Jazz Festival, Summertime Blues, and more!

Get ready for the most beautiful blue summer you’ve ever had, and catch Colin at an upcoming festival across Canada and the USA! Check out the links below for tickets and more information.

June 17: Lethbridge Jazz Festival (Lethbridge, AB)
June 23: Summertime Blues (Owen Sound, ON)
July 1: Rochester Jazz Festival (Rochester, NY)
July 7: Havelock Revival (Havelock, ON)
July 30: Wine Country Blues Festival (Woodinville, WA)
August 21: Huntsville Festival of the Arts (Huntsville, ON)
August 26: The Fair at the PNE (Vancouver, BC)
September 16: Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival (Fredericton, NB)

Catch Colin James on Stingray PausePlay

Canadian Blues icon Colin James, joins Stingray PausePlay to chat about picking up his first guitar, performing with his music heroes, and of course his new album, Blue Highways, an incredible tribute to some of Blues’ greatest players.

Win Tickets to See Colin James!

You could win tickets to see Colin in your city, courtesy of Long & McQuade and Live Nation! Head into a Long & McQuade at one of the locations listed below and fill out a ballot to win a pair of tickets and be entered into the grand prize draw to win a 1956 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Gold Top. Details at https://www.long-mcquade.com/news/2776.

February 7 @ National Arts Centre Southam Hall – Ottawa, ON (Enter at Kanata or Ottawa location)

February 18 @ Massey Hall – Toronto, ON (Enter at any GTA location)

February 20 @ Centre in the Square – Kitchener, ON (Enter at Waterloo, Cambridge, Stratford or Guelph location)

February 21 @ Hamilton Place Theatre – Hamilton, ON (Enter at Hamilton or Burlington location)

February 22 @ Centennial Hall – London, ON (Enter at London locations or Woodstock location)

February 25 @ Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg, MB (Enter at Winnipeg locations)

February 26 @ TCU Place – Saskatoon, SK (Enter at Saskatoon locations)

February 27 @ Conexus Arts Centre – Regina, SK (Enter at Regina location)

March 2 @ Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – Edmonton, AB (Enter at any Edmonton location)

March 3 @ Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium – Calgary, AB (Enter at any Calgary location)

March 6/9 @ Port Theatre – Nanaimo, BC (Enter at Nanaimo location)

March 7 @ Royal Theatre – Victoria, BC (Enter at Victoria location)

March 8 @ Orpheum Theatre – Vancouver, BC (Enter at any Lower Mainland location)

*Contest closes Jan.29/17 for Ontario concert dates, and Feb.12/17 for Western Canada dates. Grand prize guitar draw will take place the week of Feb.20/17. Tickets will be at Will Call at the venue under the winner’s name. One pair of tickets per location listed above. Transportation to and from the venue is the winner’s responsibility. No cash value. 

Great reviews of Blue Highways

“What a belting album! Simply terrific. Colin James has around 15 albums under his belt but this is one of the freshest and most dynamic things I’ve heard in ages…He has the chops and he definitely has the experience but it is clear that he also has a love for the Blues and this is definitely one of the best around at the moment. ” – Music-News

“The fact that this is such a cohesive disc and the playing is a heartfelt celebration of the love for this music and its variety is something that explodes off the disc.  A great disc to celebrate all that the blues has to offer. ” – No Depression

“I like to offer a favourite song at this stage; but you really can cover your eyes and pick anything and be impressed…” – The Rocking Magpie