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Brad James

Country/Pop

Brad James is a thief. Not your typical robber, mind you. Humble, sincere, and honest, the Stoney Creek, Ontario-based country singer/songwriter would never dream of taking someone else's physical property.

With his chiselled features, velvety voice and rugged handsomeness though, he is an unintentional bandit of adoration; an emotional kleptomaniac stealing hearts and thoughts across Canada. Talented, dapper and smooth, Brad James is the kind of guy male country music fans want to be and female country fans just plain want.

Factor in that his self-titled debut full-length CD is one the of the most compelling and enthralling experiences Canadian country music has encountered in some time, and one can see why James is considered a purloiner of passion and outright musical master.

Born in the modest town of Belleville, Ontario, the past seven years have found this engaging singer/songwriter discover an adoration for music when literally stumbling into his first acoustic guitar.

"My friend left a guitar in my trunk and I started messing around with it. I learned a couple of chords and really came to enjoy it," he confides wistfully about his humble beginnings. "Working at a country bar, I got to know some of the bands. Eventually, one of them convinced me to get up on stage on and sing. Besides being ridiculously nervous, it was amazing. That was my first introduction to singing country tunes."

Delving into his craft with fervour has resulted in a namesake debut that is virtually unequalled. A fan of rock, drawn to classical, steeped in country and schooled in jazz-having graduated from Mohawk College's Jazz Program circa 2007-James may have had a simple introduction to melody but he is creating one hell of an impact on it. Showcasing James' originality, vitality and relentless drive, his solo effort provokes the world of country music to new levels of catchiness, cunning, and creativity.

Naturally, James' talent-when amalgamated with being easy on the retinas-produces a mesmerizing live performance. Distinct, unforgettable and enrapturing thanks to a unique style, James reveals a steadfast country foundation with intimations of other popular music to highlight. Reflecting unassumingly however, he notes that while not intending to become a solitary performer, fate dictated it.

"Once I knew I wanted to play country, I just ploughed ahead with my own convictions and dreams. I have an idea of what style of music I love, whether it be listening or playing. Not everybody is going to agree with that or share the vision of what I want to build and create. So, when it came to working with a band or pursuing this alone, I went solo."

James does note that he's not entirely companionless though. His debut has garnered a powerful relationship with producer Dale Penner (Nickelback, Matthew Good Band, and Holly McNarland). Forging a quick friendship during a Canadian Country Music Awards ceremony, their similar goals and working mindsets made them inseparable during the completion of James' vibrant exercise in emotive, contemplative and simply enjoyable tunes from the lilting ballad "Bitter" to candied "That Sorta Thing" and inspiring "Waitin' on a Miracle."

"I tend to keep it to myself because I just want people to enjoy themselves but most of the songs are about love, love, love," he reveals about his music's lyrical motivation. "Whether it be lost, new, impending or whatever, there's always something to write about when that's involved."

To that extent, James feels that his debut album is the perfect representation of his live performance. Amusingly, after a nerve-jangling start, it's now where he is most comfortable, evoking reaction, meditation and pleasure while garnering exactly the same. Confident without being cocky and certainly a figure any eyes and ears welcome readily, with this inaugural release, he aspires to many years, miles and moments full of plundering his audiences' passion.

"I think my goals are pretty simple really," he concludes. "Honestly, I love interacting with the audience. It's that immediate gratification that you get when you know that the person/people are right there with you. The joy I get from performing, I think that that translates to the audience and to this record. It was just fun at first-and still is-but as things progress, I dream bigger and work harder."

Photograph of Brad James

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