The Portland Playlist welcomed the IanJames Band to Portland Radio Project Wednesday night for an evening filled with conversation and music. The band is described as the “love child of Michael Jackson and James Taylor. Ian James is an artist that believes in allowing the song to be the center of attention, not himself.” They have shared the stage with national acts, performed at radio events and more. Theirs is a simple philosophy when it comes to performing both their original material and the covers they grew up with: “Great Music + Great Energy = Great Time,” and a great time it most certainly was!
“Keeping it simple so the world can listen”
Whether it is as a solo musician or the full band, IanJames has always been able to fuse many genres of music into a funky, acoustic soul energy, toe tapping experience listeners can truly enjoy. IanJames is all about the moment and makes sure the music and entertainment match. Counting James Taylor as the influence that got him singing, he admires Taylor’s ability to write a simple song with lyrics that stand the test of time, and only the guitar as instrument. Ian strives to keep the music simple so that the world can enjoy it.
Joining Ian in the studio were Patrick Curtain, bass; Matthew Hayes (Matches Mbp), keys; and Johnnie Ballard (JB Starpower), drums. The first hour covered the band’s influences which included Michael Jackson, Teddy Riley, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Andre Crouch, Nancy Griffith, and Chick Corea. Johnnie talked about Michael Jackson being his biggest influence, and how growing up, his neighborhood would emulate Jackson’s style, down to the white glove and all. Matthew credits Teddy Riley as the influence that inspired him to play piano, the “Blackstreet” album blew him away. Growing up, Patrick was not allowed to listen to mainstream music but his Uncle gave him two albums, one of which was Andre Crouch. To this day, if he finds himself a little down, he always go back to Andre’s music.
Their music roots began in the church, performing in the band, and/or singing in the choir. It was in playing a church gig that Johnnie and Patrick met, and “it was music magic.” Matthew was given the nickname, “Matches” by childhood friends because his playing “makes fire and produces heat.” Ian comes from a family of musicians on all sides, and reminisced about seeing Craig Crothers and the late, Tim Ellis, at their Songwriters in the Round when he was young.
The second hour focused on the band’s original material, including three songs performed live. All of the songs are on their latest album, which is being mastered by Justin Phelps of The Hallowed Halls, with a hoped for summer release. The music ranges from funk (Be Your Man and Twisted), the jazzier sounds (My Prayer), a little bit of a rock element (Good Luvin) and a few love songs written for Ian’s wife. This is an album that is filled with depth, emotion, and passion to suit any mood and is one that would make a great addition to your local music collection.
Be sure and visit their website to find out where their next performances will be as a solo act or with the full band.
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