James Armstrong is coming to Chicago for multiple shows starting on Feb. 13 at Kingston Mines. Over the next couple of months James will be playing what looks to be a Chicago blues bar tour. He will also be performing at Buddy Guys Legends, The City Winery, Chicago’s House of Blues, Nick’s Beer Garden and Kingston Mines again in May. He also will be performing regular gigs in Springfield, Ill. at Casey’s Pub. Other Midwest gigs include the Slippery Noodle in Indianapolis, Ind. and BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups in St. Louis, Mo.
So who’s this guy James Armstrong? James isn’t a household name, but he has been around for a while. He has played with Albert Collins, Big Joe Turner, Keb Mo’, Coco Montoya, Tommy Castro, Shemekia Copeland, Chaka Khan, Charlie Musselwhite, Joe Louis Walker, Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix), Jan & Dean, Peter Tork (Monkees), Smokey Wilson, Ricky Lee Jones and Roy Brown.
Born in Los Angeles on April 22, 1957 (age 56), James is a west coast blues man and his style is considered contemporary blues. He’s a guitarist, singer and song writer. His mother was a blues singer and his father was a jazz guitarist. He started his own band in seventh grade and by the age 17 he was touring the country.
James survived a life threatening event, when he was nearly stabbed to death in a home invasion. This coming just after he released his first album “Sleeping With a Stranger”. He was about to start a tour. That event left James without the use of his left hand and arm, including permanent nerve damage. With the help of friends, fans and the blues community, Armstrong came back two years later with his second album, “Dark Night”.
Instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for himself, James gained a whole new perspective for music. He turned his attention to perfecting his songwriting, vocals and slide guitar skills. This resulted in his third album “Got It Goin’ On”. The CD was nominated for two WC Handy blues awards. The song “Pennies and Picks” was nominated for best song of the year.
With a new record label came the critically acclaimed release of “Blues at the Border”. It’s the story of how things have changed since 9-11.
Now James has a new album to be released on Feb. 18, 2014 titled “Guitar Angels”. The CD consists of nine originals tunes. The song “Healing Time” deals with the death of his brother Norman, who also was a guitarist. There’s also the song “Grandma’s Got a New Friend”, which views how the baby boomer approach to aging is different from past generations. There are two covers, “Take It to the Limit” and Johnny Copeland’s “Blues Ain’t Nothin’”. “Saturday Night Women” is the song that gets the shouts from the crowd when performed live. “Guitar Angels” reflects on the help he has received from his friends and how God had a bigger plan for him.
Some of James songs have been noticed by film makers and have made it to the big screen. His song “Bank of Love” was used in “Hear No Evil”. That movie featured Martin Sheen and Marlie Matlin. “Two Sides to Every Story” is featured in “Speechless” with Michael Keaton and Geena Davis. It’s also featured in “The Florentine” with Jeremy Davies and Luke Perry.
Make sure to come out and support James in one of the many opportunities that will be available to you.
Tour dates - http://jarmblues.com/press.html
Guitar Angels - http://guitarangels.net/