James Anthony, Blues Guitart Player

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James Anthony, Blues Guitar Player
James Anthony

J.A. and the Blues

By James Anthony

The first time I heard the blues I was about twelve years old listening to Lightning Hopkins and Jimmy Reed. I was visiting my God Parents in Lewiston NY for the summer. I had already started playing country guitar and lap steel at about nine. I had this cheap little radio that I had under my pillow and I could easily pick up a radio station in the southern states on a clear summer night. This new music sounded almost haunting to me, a little scary.

The thing that really made me want to listen was the strange beat .I started to ask where I could get these records and soon had so many I couldn't count them .I bought a Hagstrom electric 335 style guitar and a small tube amp and I was all set. My folks had a hard time to get me to eat because I was in my room all day and night with a suitcase record player wearing out the grooves to get the next lick. By the time i was fifteen, I had a blues band and was playing weekends for money.

Here I am forty eight now and I still make a living playing and singing blues .It seems the older I get the more believable I am and the more I get accepted. A little kid playing the blues was not a normal thing in a middle class Italian community back in 1967.This had been a wonderful journey for me and I have met and / or played with most of the Blues Legends that are long gone now. The only thing that saddens me is the new generation of blues singers are not doing there homework.

You have to start way back and learn from the old greats first and then move on to the newer ones.There is a lack of simplicity in the new players, they play too fast ,loud and furious and I feel this is the key to the heart and soul of the best blues.
Thanks, James Anthony

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Over the years James has worked with Blues and R & B greats including Big Mama Thornton, Johnnie Johnson, Eddie Kirkland, Big Moose Walker, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Lazy Lester, and Kenny Neal. And, James has also been the opened for a virtual who's who of Blues: Bobby Bland, Koko Taylor, Canned Heat, Ten Years After, James Cotton, Jimmie Vaughn and Mick Taylor.
Since 1972, James has played as a session man on countless records in addition to jingles, films, and documentaries. In 1999 James was the musical director for the Gordon McLean TV Show and he also won the Cable TV Producers Awards for best music show for the Rogers Cable produced “The Midnite Hour”.

Read more Blues Heroes Stories
from the bookTouched By the Blues

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