Doug James and Willie J. Laws
Friends of the Jamestown Library Winter Music Series brings the blues.- “Think Robert Cray meets B.B. King while visiting Jimi Hendrix. It can’t help but groove you.”
The influences heard in the music of the Willie J. Laws Band are many and eclectic. There are deep roots in Texas music tradition and uniquely American roots music. Raised in the Gulf Coast of Texas, Willie J. developed his “funky blues” guitar and vocal sound, influenced by Texas Blues and R&B, Tex-Mex Tejano/Conjunto, Louisiana Zydeco, and Country. Fans call him “the Real Deal”. His work over the past 25 years includes performing as the house band for The House of Blues in both Las Vegas and New Orleans, and as well as Margaritaville in the “Crescent City”. He performs nationally and internationally with the Grammy award-winning Tejano band “Los Texmaniacs”. While living in Texas, Louisiana, Nevada, and California he repeatedly opened for BB King, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Hall & Oates, Lynyrd Skynyrd and numerous others. Willie was mentored by, and toured throughout the US with, the late Blues great and Texan, Phillip Walker, which you also hear in Willie’s playing style. Willie now lives in Massachusetts, travels from NH to NYC to Texas and beyond, and plays hardcore, authentic Blues with a twist of Zydeco, R&B and Funk.
Doug James, sax, was encouraged to take an interest in music by his church organist mother, James soon began teaching himself to play saxophone, eventually choosing the baritone member of the family although he also plays tenor saxophone and bass clarinet. After he and his family lived for a while in Oregon, they settled in Rhode Island. There, in 1971, he began a spell with guitarist Duke Robillard’s band, Roomful Of Blues, which has continued intermittently into the new millennium. With this band, James toured internationally and recorded extensively, including Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson And Roomful Of Blues (1982) and Blues Train: Big Joe Turner & Roomful Of Blues (1983). Apart from Eddie Vinson and ‘Big’ Joe Turner, James has often backed other noted blues exponents, including LaVern Baker, Helen Humes, Colin James, Freddie King, Charlie Musselwhite, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Junior Walker, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Witherspoon. For his own name debut album in 2001, James surrounded himself with former Roomful Of Blues players, including Robillard. Among these musicians is fellow saxophonist ‘Sax’ Gordon Beadle (b. 1965, Detroit, Michigan, USA), with whom James also plays in other formats and he also leads an occasional big band.
Doug is currently on tour with Jimmy Vaughn and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
All FOTJL music series concerts are free to the community.