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Program Guide 1999Review 1999Band Informations 1, 2, 3 ... 8B.B. and the Blues ShacksCarey Bell and BandJames ArmstrongLucky PetersonKenny Neal and BandAcoustic Blues SummitSherman RobertsonClarence Gatemouth Brown

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JAMES ARMSTRONG
FR. 02.07.1999, 22.00
James Armstrong

James Armstrong - vocals, guitar
Eric Hayslett - bass
Mike Emerson - keyboards
David Tucker - drums

Click here for the website of the band:..

 

ONE YEAR-AND-A-HALF AFTER A RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE ALMOST TOOK HIS LIFE, CRITICALLY- ACCLAIMED BLUES SINGER/ GUITARIST JAMES ARMSTRONG HAS RELEASED HIS BEST STATEMENT YET TO A CLAIM AS ONE OF THE TOP CONTEMPORARY BLUES PERFORMERS WITH HIS SECOND HIGHTONE RECORDS ALBUM, DARK NIGHT. ARMSTRONG'S LABEL DEBUT, SLEEPING WITH A STRANGER (RELEASED IN LATE 1995), HAD ESTABLISHED HIM AS AN UP-AND-COMING BLUES FIGURE, GENERATING EXCELLENT REVIEWS AND TREMENDOUS POPULARITY ON THE EUROPEAN CIRCUIT, WITH THE ARTIST POISED TO MAKE THE NEXT GREAT LEAP TO STARDOM VIA A MAJOR CROSS-COUNTRY U.S. TOUR AND A RECORDING SESSION PLANNED FOR THE SPRING OF 1997.

THAT ALL CHANGED, HOWEVER, WHEN AN INTRUDER BROKE INTO HIS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA APARTMENT IN APRIL OF THAT YEAR, NEARLY STABBING JAMES TO DEATH AND TOSSING HIS TWO-YEAR-OLD SON FROM A SECOND STORY BALCONY. THE CRIMINAL WAS ARRESTED AND JAMES JR. SURVIVED WITH NO LONG-TERM EFFECTS; BUT JAMES SR. IS STILL FIGHTING TO REGAIN THE COMPLETE USE OF HIS LEFT HAND AND ARM THROUGH A RIGOROUS PHYSICAL THERAPY PROGRAM. WITH THE INCREDIBLE SUPPORT OF HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS AND THE BLUES COMMUNITY, JAMES GOT BACK UP FROM THIS KNOCKDOWN PUNCH AND WENT BACK TO WORK IN NOVEMBER, 1 997, WITH HIS BAND, PLAYING GIGS MAINLY IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA. HIS INJURIES PREVENTING HIM FROM BEING ABLE TO PLAY LEAD GUITAR, JAMES BROUGHT IN MICHAEL ROSS AS AN ADDITIONAL GUITARIST, WHOSE LEAD WORK ENABLED ARMSTRONG TO CONCENTRATE ON GETTING HIS STRENGTH BACK BY PLAYING RHYTHM GUITAR AND LEARNING SLIDE GUITAR, AS WELL. THE SPRING/SUMMER NATIONAL TOUR, WHICH FOLLOWED, REINFORCED HIS COMMITMENT TO MAKING A COMPLETE RECOVERY, AS AUDIENCES CHEERED HIS DETERMINATION AND SALUTED HIS WONDERFUL TALENT AS A PERFORMER.

JAMES ARMSTRONG COMES BY THAT TALENT NATURALLY AS THE SON OF A BLUES SINGING MOTHER AND A JAZZ GUITARIST FATHER. LEARNING GUITAR INITIALLY FROM JAZZ GREAT IRVING ASHBY ( A FRIEND OF HIS DAD), BEST-
KNOWN FOR HIS WORK WITH THE LEGENDARY NAT "KING" COLE. JAMES FORMED HIS FIRST BAND WHILE IN THE SEVENTH GRADE, AND HAS BEEN PERFORMING NON-STOP EVER SINCE.

HIGHTONE RECORDS PARTNER AND PRODUCER BRUCE BROMBERG DISCOVERED HIM IN THE EARLY 1 990'S IN LOS Angeles, DRAWN TO JAMES' SOUND, WHICH WAS ROOTED IN TRADITIONAL BLUES BUT WITH A MODERN DYNAMIC.

PRODUCED BY BRUCE BROMBERG AND FONTAINE BROWN, DARK NIGHT CLEARLY SHOWS A MATURITY AND AN EVOLUTION OF ARMSTRONG'S BLUES, FUELED OBVIOUSLY BY THE TRYING TIMES HE'S BEEN THROUGH IN THE
LAST YEAR-PLUS. RECORDED DURING A SHORT BREAK OF HIS NATIONAL TOUR, THE ALBUM ENABLED JAMES TO GO IN WITH HIS BAND CLEARLY FOCUSED AND RAZOR-SHARP FROM THE RECENT ROAD WORK. "GOING IN, I WAS REALLY EXCITED, SINCE WE DIDN'T HAVE MUCH TIME IN-BETWEEN OUR TOUR SEGMENTS," RECALLS JAMES. "IT WAS GREAT THAT WE WERE ABLE TO TOUR JUST BEFORE HITTING THE STUDIO. BECAUSE IT REALLY GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET MY CONFIDENCE BACK."

"THIS ALBUM HAS SO MUCH MORE EMOTION," REFLECTS ARMSTRONG ABOUT THE NEW DISC. "MY VOICE IS A LOT STRONGER AND THE SONGS ARE DEEPER BECAUSE OF WHAT I'VE GONE THROUGH."

ARMSTRONG WAS ALSO THRILLED TO GET HIS GOOD FRIENDS JOE LOUIS WALKER AND DOUG MACLEOD TO COME IN AND ADD LEAD GUITAR ON TWO TRACKS APIECE. "RIGHT AFTER THE ATTACK, JOE LOUIS WALKER CALLED AND
VOICED HIS SUPPORT; AND THEN CAME IN RIGHT AWAY TO THE SESSIONS AND DID A GREAT JOB," SAYS ARMSTRONG. "DOUG MACLEOD WROTE 'SIX BAR CITY' ON MY FIRST ALBUM AND WROTE 'TOO MANY MISSES FOR ME' ON THE NEW ONE," HE ADDS. "the GROOVE ON THAT SONG JUST CAME TO ME.
IT'S THE FIRST SONG I FELT I COULD ACTUALLY PLAY ON IN THE SESSIONS AND I'M INDEBTED TO DOUG FOR GETTING ME BACK TO PLAYING."

UNLIKE MANY OF THE YOUNGER BLACK MUSICIANS WHO'VE TRADED THEIR ROOTS HERITAGE FOR THE GREENER PASTURES OF RAP, ROCK, FUNK AND POP MUSIC, JAMES ARMSTRONG IS STICKING WITH THE BLUES, THE MUSIC HE KNOWS BEST AND LOVES. BLENDING THE BASICS OF THE PAST WITH THE MOST CREATIVE ELEMENTS OF TODAY AND THE FUTURE. "TO ME, ALL OF THE MUSIC ON dark NIGHT IS BLUES, BUT IT'S MY BLUES." SAYS ARMSTRONG. IT'S JUST THE WAY I WANTED IT. WE GO A LITTLE PAST STRAIGHT BLUES AND PUT AN EDGE ON IT. that's WHAT I LIKE TO DO BOTH IN MY WRITING AND MY PLAYING."

(hightone records biography)

 

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