April 16, 2024

Beauty Arts

The Arts Authority

Remembering Roots Musician Steve James 1950–2023

Remembering Roots Musician Steve James 1950–2023

By David Lusterman

Steve James, famous American roots musician and songwriter and extended-time contributor to Acoustic Guitar, died at house today in Seattle, Washington, at the age of 72. The induce was glioma, a mind most cancers.

A indigenous New Yorker, Steve James created an early fascination with blues new music and the guitar through his father’s file selection. Originally self-taught, he examined guitar with Steve Weber and learned lutherie in the decreased Manhattan guitar factory of Michael Gurian. James then moved to Johnson Town, Tennessee, the first of various houses in the South, in research of seminal fingerstyle guitarist Sam McGee, whose new music he would transcribe for his very first e-book, Outdated-Time Region Guitar (Oak Publications). He future moved to Memphis, in which he was mentored by bluesman Furry Lewis, and then to San Antonio, where by he labored at the Institute of Texan Cultures and done usually at its Texas Folklife Festivals.

A lifelong touring soloist, James moved to Austin, Texas, and started recording on a regular basis in 1993 with the launch of Two Monitor Thoughts (Antone’s), followed by American Primitive, Artwork and Grit, and Increase Chang, collaborating with artists such as Danny Barnes, Gary Primich, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Cindy Cashdollar.

Steve James in 1992

James was also a standard musical associate of guitarist and ukulele standout Del Rey they recorded Steve James + Del Rey (Hobemian Data) in 2004.

James’ taste for early American rural musical cultures extended to a fascination with old musical instruments, and he amassed a assortment of “pawnshop” guitars, mandolins, and exotica on which he centered his nicely-uncovered and very well-honed lutherie capabilities. His fascination with resonator devices culminated in the launch of Countrywide Reso-Phonic’s ResoRocket Steve James signature product.

A loquacious, outspoken raconteur and beginner historian, James was also a gifted trainer and nicely-identified to habitues of the Kerrville People Festival, the Swannanoa Collecting, and the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Workshop, among numerous these kinds of summer activities.

His instructional video clips contain Blues-Roots Guitar and Learn to Participate in Blues Mandolin (Homespun) and he was the creator of many educational guides, including Roots and Blues Fingerstyle Guitar, Roots and Blues Mandolin, Inside Blues Guitar, and Fingerstyle Blues Songbook (Stringletter).

To his colleagues at Acoustic Guitar, Steve James was not only the well-informed, reliable writer of 185 properly-regarded articles or blog posts and opinions, he was a cherished mate, close collaborator, and the source of endlessly entertaining tales from the highway.