leifjames's Profile

About me:Leif James - 9/05
Ithaca, New York (MUSE Magazine)

Leif James has the kind of voice that drives an audience to chain-smoke and binge on coffee. It is smoky, deep, raspy and soulful, and has that roughness that brings to mind the most compelling blues legends.
A singer/songwriter who has spent almost a third of his life traveling across the country, James is now 27 and actively contributing to Ithaca's vibrant music scene with his memorable voice and sincere lyrics. Tom Waits, Steve Earle and Van Morrison are some of James' biggest influences but the distinctiveness of his voice eludes any specific comparison.
James grew up in Hamilton, N.Y., where he lived until being kicked out of school at 15. Following his expulsion, he embarked on an eight-year, cross-country excursion. This period of turmoil and adventure caused James to explore creativity out of necessity.
"The whole reason I started to play guitar, to be honest, was to make money on the streets so I wouldn't have to starve," James says.
James followed bands on tour across the country and performed in the parking lots at their shows. Following acts such as Phish and the String Cheese Incident, James made stops in every state but Alaska and Hawaii. His experiences gave him an adaptability that has been integral to the shaping of both his music and personality.
"I'm constantly changing," James says. "Every day I wake up I go in a different direction. Unless you're a stick in the mud, everyone evolves."
Remaining in Ithaca for the past three years, however, hasn't stunted James' musical growth. Since settling in Ithaca, James has shared the stage with many artists he greatly respects, such as Sim Redmond and bluesman Curtis Crawford.
"It's unreal," James says. "This place is a Mecca for not only good songwriters but goodd musicians. Good musicianship: that's hard to find."
James often collaborates with local artists through benefits, as well as through his involvement with One World Beat, a non-profit organization that raises money for AIDS awareness.
James' debut album, "Nowhere Town", will be released by Orbital Sound this summer. The title, he emphasizes, refers to his hometown and not Ithaca.
Although James' life up until this point has been anything but simple, the concise wisdom found in his songs reflects his straightforward attitude toward life.
"Live free and create, man," he says smiling. "That's it."
~Matt Wice, Muse Magazine
Member Since:October 10, 2002
Last Login:March 1, 2011
Location:Bend, OR
Birthday:February 17
Music means to me:everything!

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