NEWS FROM WAZ E. JAMES BAND
“Waz E James, is one of the most exciting guitarists to emerge in the last 20 years. His playing is passionate whether rocking out or laying back. A huge talent”.
Billy Pinnell, 3. 12. 99, Working Dog, The panel, RRR & AW.
Waz E James never let fear of diversification get in the way of good music, he has been able to cross the music genera’s from, country bluegrass and blues to the punk edged Grunge scene. His professional music career has seen him achieve success in each style.
His New CD Hair of the Dog sees him return to his country and bluegrass roots.
The blending of the edgy raw style honed in the grunge scene with his traditional knowledge of acoustic instrumentation cuts new roads into the “Nu country music scene”.
With a strong desire to emulate the songwriting prowess of artists such as, Delbert McClinton, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale this recording sees the maturity of his now honed songwriting style reach a new level.
Waz is joined on Hair of the Dog by gifted Dobro player Peter Fidler adding the finishing dolce tones to Waz's minimal home studio recordings. Fulltronic drummer Dave Major has performed the percussion tracks while Waz plays all the other stringed instruments.
Waz’s unique style is born out of many varied associations over his career. As a teenager growing up in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, Waz discovered his neighbor to be none other than Harvey James, who planted the first blues seed in Waz’s playing style. Some of Harvey’s acquaintances were renowned players of the time and it was no surprise to find Waz eavesdropping on Arial rehearsal sessions.
The Real lessons arrived a few years later via his high school music tutor, American Greg Hildebrand, one of Australia’s premier Bluegrass performers. Passing on ye olde art of the “rolling thumb” and other string picking tips, Hildebrand soon encouraged Waz to join him and others on stage at the Green Man Club in Malvern, a popular Blues Venue in the late 70s. There Waz learnt the standards and polished his act, eventually sharing bills with Bushwhackers and Bluesman Dutch Tilders.
By the mid 80s, Waz approach to his instrument had shifted. With friends he joined anarchic party band, Black Ruxton, whose punk-with-a-smile performances was also welcomed by pub audiences. Discovering a flange pedal and a songwriting talent of his own, Waz soon put together his own outfit Brokenhead, a noisy trio that managed to bridge the gap between Crazy Horse and the Melvins. Over the next three years Brokenhead surfed its own “grunge” wave, issuing a fistful of Eps/singles on the Sydney indie Label Waterfront, one of which, the “Come Anytime” 7 inch climbed to #3 on the US collage charts in 1990. Meanwhile, the band warmed local stage for likes of Lemonheads and the Aints while funding self released album on the Destroyer label through Shock.
Following Brokenhead’s demise, Waz packed his trusty jazzmaster and headed off to the US where he rediscovered the beauty of Blues music, playing with a myriad of house bands along the west coast culminating in support sets for Guitar Shorty @ Harvels in Santa Monica. Missing Home and needing a backing band to flesh out a new cache of tunes, Waz returned to Melbourne and quickly assembled a group consisting of cello bassist Ashley Winn and former Bad Boy Batacuda drummer Mark Grunden. In 1998, Fulltronic was born. In one raw, late night session, the band then recorded a ten track album at Birdland Studios, overseen by producer Lindsay Gravina. The result was a debut that married original contemporary blues with a new groove, a sprinkling of covers including a rousing remake of ZZ Tops “ Blue Jeans”.
Hair of the Dog raises the bar yet again for this prolific singwriter.
Further inquiries contact:
Full Management 0419 032 516
WATERMELON - THE GUARDIAN April 15 2009
When you come across a CD with the title of, 'Watermelon', you’ve got to expect something different, and when the group on the album has a name like, "The Waz e James band", you have good reason to wonder just what is going to come next, and what comes next is thirteen top Country Rock tracks.
Perhaps it is a little unfair to label the music as Country Rock, without mentioning the blues influence in a lot of the tracks, and a smidgen of Bluegrass sound creeping in here and there. The thing that really got to me with this one, is that it is so very listenable. No loud blaring backing, no strident vocals, just good "punchy", but very pleasant songs. The band hails from Melbourne where they are ranked as one of the city's top "Pub" bands.
Another thing helping them to achieve their unique sound is the gravelly tones of Waz, who does the lead vocals which may be likened to the early Kenny Rogers sound, although where the Rogers tones were soft and subtle, the voice of Waz is more demanding, but never over the top. All top tracks, but my personal pick would rest between, 'Same Old Thing', and, 'When Rita Leaves'. Grab a chance to listen to this one.
NOISY TRUCKS - CAPITAL NEWS July 2009
This 13 track collection places itself firmly in the heart of Australian country music with some excellent playing and lived in vocals that tell the story just as much as the lyrics do. Nine of the ten tracks were written by Waz and there's a co-write with Dave Moll. Rounding at the track are covers of Gillian Welch's 'Everything Is Free', Delbert McClinton's 'When Rita Leaves' and the traditional 'God's Not Dead'.
Gleny Rae Virus joins in on the track 'Same Old Thing' and highlights include the opening 'The Plainsman', 'Hair Of The Dog', the up-tempo 'Hold On To My Love', 'God's Not Dead' (which is given a great modern treatment that will get your feet tappin') and 'When Rita Leaves'.
Waz scores well with his originals and his vocals remind me a bit of Bill Chambers, but with a flavour all his own. There's some tasty pickin' here and although I seem to have missed the relevance of the album's title I have to admit that I really like it.
Dogs Bar, St Kilda