High Fives 2020 (16) – James Oliver

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Earlier this year, we reviewed “Twang” by The James Oliver Band. He’s from a long line of Welsh guitar wizards he has a lot in common with, including the ability to inject a bit of humour into their music. Anyway, Allan loved the album and would have been really happy to see the band play live. And then COVID reared its ugly head and all bets were off. For someone breaking through and relying on live performance to do that, lockdown was the worst thing that could happen. As you can see below, James has made the best of it. Here are his High Fives:

 

Photo by Mick Schofield

Hi. For those who don’t know me, I’m a rock ‘n’ roll guitarist from South Wales, following in the footsteps of the likes of Dave Edmunds, Mickey Gee and Man. My debut solo album Twang came out in April and has done way better than I would ever have thought, which makes up for going from playing 250 gigs a year to a mere handful. It spent five weeks at number 1 on the Amazon Blues Chart; got three plays on BBC Radio 2 from Cerys Matthews (keeping the Welsh flag flying!) loads of press and reviews. Just a shame I couldn’t really support it on the road.

 

 

Photo by Beverley Oliver

I started my YouTube channel in March for something to do, and since then I’ve gained 10,000 subscriptions and over 5 million views. Also got positive comments on social media from Albert Lee, Bill Kirchen, Greg Koch, Kenny Vaughan and the legendary John ‘Drumbo’ French from Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band. A real buzz to be recognized by some of my heroes. People might not associate me with Beefheart’s music from the stuff I play, but he’s absolutely one of my favourites. I even genuinely like Trout Mask Replica!
 

 

Photo by Mick Schofield

During lockdown I’ve also been lucky to have lessons from Eric Klerks of The Magic Band and, in a different style, one of the masters of the Telecaster (my guitar of choice too) Redd Volkaert – two major influences on my guitar playing. They’ve really helped me improve as a guitar player.
 

 

 

Many of my friends know I’m a huge Pirates fan, especially their guitarist Mick Green. I was asked by Romek Parol and BJ Anders to join a band called Gibson Martin Fender, which is the title of a Pirates’ track. Romek and BJ played with Green in the ’90s. They made 3 records with him and toured the world. It was put on hold because of COVID, but I’m looking forward to playing my Mick Green licks in this cool side project.
 

I had the shock of my life earlier in 2020 when I won the UK Blues Federation’s Emerging Artist Of The Year Award. I hope to be a Re-emerging Artist in 2021…!

 

 

 

 

And by way of a bonus here’s a video clip for you as well:

James oliver band stay outta trouble official video – YouTube