Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter Steve James has carved a niche for himself in the acoustic and folk-blues scene through a lot of touring. He's built his fan base the old-fashioned way, without the support of an international record company marketing machine.
James, who plays National steel guitar, mandolin, and banjo, got hooked on blues as a 12-year-old. In his youth, he befriended and learned from some of the masters of acoustic blues: Sam McGee and B.B. King's cousin, Furry Lewis. As a young teenager in New York City, James heard the 78-rpm recordings of Leadbelly, Josh White, and Meade "Lux" Lewis contained in his father's record collection. After moving to Tennessee, he befriended McGee and Lewis. In 1977, he moved to San Antonio Texas, where he further broadened his musical horizons out of necessity, playing with everyone from saxophone legend Clifford Scott to rock & roll with Bo Diddley. During this time, he also shared stages with John Hammond, Jr. and Dave Van Ronk when they were passing through Texas.
James' guitar, mandolin, and slide guitar playing can be heard on recordings by James McMurtry, Angela Strehli, Ana Egge, and the Bad Livers. James has also recorded an instructional video on acoustic blues guitar and contributed magazine articles to Acoustic Guitar magazine. His instructional book, Roots and Blues Fingerstyle was published by Acoustic Guitar.