So..What is Live Looping?
"Live Looping has been utilized for decades by a select few musicians and has become increasingly more popular via a range of different pedals, software, and even apps. The way I explain it to my audiences is to picture those old cassette recorders (Millennials, just picture voice memos on your iPhone) now picture there are 3 of them at my feet. I push one and trigger it with my foot and it starts recording everything I do. When I push it again it plays what I just played. I press it again and it adds more sound to the same track. Then I can move to my 2nd pedal and play something with a different length and play it back. I continue to build it to a full Band sound." - Jeff James - 2019
The RC-50 Loop Station
The heart of the Live Looping show. Jeff James uses 1 to 3 separate tracks to create a song from scratch. The RC-50 has the ability to record each track at different lengths. For example the first track recorded is typically a 1-2 measure percussion track. The 2nd is usually the verse, chorus, or both together. The 3rd is usually reserved for harmonies, typically for choruses. One of the greatest assets is the 'undo' function.
The GR-55 Guitar Synthesizer
The GR-55 guitar synthesizer changed the show once again by allowing Jeff to start playing Bass guitar, piano, b3 organ, and over 400 other instruments, expanding the variety of songs and changing the dynamics of the songs as well. The huge assets of the GR-55 are it's ability to choose which strings carry the instrument as well as being able to switch between just guitar to Guitar/ Synth sound, to just Synth. For guitarists this means the ability to play bass and guitar at the same time by programming the bass for the E and A string.
DTX-Multi 12 Drum Pad
The Dtx is a compact drum kit with 12 programmable pads per kit. Jeff uses 2-3 drum kits per show depending on song choice. The biggest assets are ability to change effects, pitches, nuances, dynamics via velocity curves, and ability to load user samples. It has also worked great for live on the fly playing.
Who is Jeff James?
Combine one singer-songwriter's fascination with the acoustic and electric guitar in an amalgamation of Folk, Blues, Rock, Country and Gospel, add a social conscience, a hunger for the written word, and a love for singing and entertaining, and you've got Jeff James. With over 4500 performances and 8 albums and a live DVD under his belt, Jeff has become an extremely versatile performer, adapting to whatever his environment throws at him.
Jeff finds ways of capturing audiences with his percussive playing style along with some beautiful fingerstyle picking. Add silky but somehow gritty vocals (a cross combination of James Taylor and Gary Allan) which have been described as "unique" and "gripping" and you've found a show that people keep coming back to.
"I've played all sorts of places from parks, street corners, college house parties, churches, bars, restaurants, resorts, casinos, street dances, fairs, and music festivals, and one constant I look for is the reaction I get from a person or a group. Good, bad, or otherwise-if I can achieve a smile, look of surprise, or even a tear, from the songs I 've written or performed, I feel I've succeeded in reaching people through music."
Jeff James started singing at 6 in a church choir and performed his first 'solo' at 7 in a Christmas play in his small hometown of New London, MN. Around the age of 16 his pastor borrowed him a classical guitar to get him started. He began learning songs from Waylon Jennings, James Taylor, John Denver, and even Pink Floyd. Along with friend John Ploegstra, Jeff would rehearse in front of huge 'invisible' audiences and they were eventually involved in a group dubbed 'Black Waters' playing a few local clubs and performing in front of their 1st real crowd of around 1500 people at their town's annual summer festival.
Over the course of the next 7 years he toured extensively full time as frontman with Country Rock Band Genuine Leather and Lace. They performed the A and B club circuits in the 6 state upper Midwest. He also performed 2 years with another Country Rock Band "KeyStone" Sharing the stage with many major artists. In the midst of both bands, he kept up with several solo acoustic performances which he used to display his own music.
In 1998 Jeff and Debbie (his wife) moved to Nashville to pursue the true and trying business end of music. Over the course of the next 7 years of performing and networking he released 4 CD 's independently with the majority of the material being original. There he became a regular part of the music scene entertaining locals and tourists consistently 3-4 nights a week downtown Nashville and the Opryland Hotel Area. Eventually he landed a regular gig for the next 5 years at the Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar. A club which during that time sprouted Artists like Rascal Flatts, Eric Church, and Trent Tomlinson, all of whom he shared the stage with. Performing covers of Country, Rock and Pop and his own songs from a list of over 350 songs. His original music drawing inspiration from such related genre artists as David Wilcox, John Gorka, and earlier artists like Taylor, Denver, Dylan, Baez, and Lightfoot. Performing at several songwriter nights, James gained several songwriter friends and publishing contacts, keeping regular writing dates at Universal Publishing. He was asked to perform on America's 2nd longest running radio show, The Midnite Jamboree, where he performed alongside Dale Watson and Raúl Malo.
Turning Minnesotan Again
In August 2004, Jeff, wife Debbie, and daughter Danielle, made the move back to Minnesota to further his career with the release of the Two Hands CD in the Fall. Two Hands was listed on John Shelton-Ivany's Top 21 Issue #214. - (Jeff James "Two Hands" Top 10 Recommended albums.) This mention was listed by reviewer John Shelton Ivany. The John Shelton-Ivany Top Twenty-One is published in 200 National newspapers.
In 2005 he was asked to return to Nashville to perform at the Nashville Folk Festival.
In the following years he appeared on 2 television specials which were aired several times on local NWCT. One was A Holiday special (Also released as the DVD "Holiday With Jeff James" and one that eventually became the Basis for the 2007 DVD "Take in the Fall"
Throughout this time Jeff began gaining fans and a following throughout the state playing regular shows. Highlights of which were opening up for National Acts Like Corey Stevens and Martin Zellar.
2013 James released "Live & Loopless" a live acoustic show featuring original songs and a few covers.
2016 began a long line of recording live looping shows. The result culminated in a 16 song Live Looping album titled "Play Something Good - LIVE" Released in the Fall of 2019.
2020 Promises to be the year of the first studio album in several years - The title of which will be "Dancing in my Mind" The title track being an homage to his wife Debbie.