Revered singer-songwriter Chris James has a reputation for performing several hours a night, with original songs that sound like covers, and cover songs that sound as good as the originals. His rich vocals and honest writing style tug at the heartstrings with a soulful grit and emotion that gives even his most tender pieces a rock n’ roll edge. James strives to put forth well-crafted, memorable songs with an unbridled spirit brought to light and energized by his enduring band: The Showdowns. Often citing 70’s Americana songwriters as influence, the Northern California based group has graced countless stages and has been played on several FM, XM stations and internet radio worldwide.
Chris James and the Showdowns latest record: “Somewhere out in California,” is rootsy, rockin’ and authentic. Honing their songwriting craft, the band delivers dance driven rhythms, signature guitar licks, heartfelt vocals, and sing-along choruses throughout an unflinchingly solid Americana Rock album. Recorded primarily at legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA, the group was able to capture the classic sound they’ve come to be known for; often channeling the influences of such heroes as: Tom Petty, The Eagles, The Band, and America, while putting forth their own contemporary alt-country-rock expression.
Chris James is no stranger to the recording studio, or to the stage. Throughout his career the singer songwriter has amassed an impressive catalog of recorded material ranging at least eight albums and has played continuously on both coasts in hundreds of venues. His band The Showdowns are comprised of loyal musical soldiers who are all esteemed pro musicians in their own right: Matt Berg (drums), AJ Leighton (bass), John Paterson (keys) and Whitt Vicena (lead guitar). The musical synergy created between them is contagious and transcends the stage. Together they have fought from the trenches of the grittiest bars, to club venues, to corporate events, and everything in between.
Back story: Chris James started out as a budding songwriter performing acoustic material at campfire outings, parties, and coffee houses in and around the Portland Maine area. Gaining confidence as a performer, he realized that he would have to look to larger cities to become more widely recognized and ventured to San Francisco with not much more than a guitar in tow. Shortly after arriving and weathering the culture shock of a country boy in the big city, he formed the rock band Small Change Romeos. After just a few years, the band had built a fairly large Bay Area following and were known for their diverse sound and eclectic songwriting. They also were on the cusp of a record deal with Universal Records when the bottom fell out and the digital age set in. As a father and part time San Francisco bartender, James has had to wear many hats and endure setbacks as so many independent musicians have. He continues to strive forth however; spreading his music to ever growing audiences while writing, recording, and performing with purpose and vigor in the pursuit of his passion.
--"James' style of writing is hard to deny as it rings of times and life situations we can all relate to. It's nice to see an artist and band like the Showdowns hold true to Americana roots while still giving you a rock and roll kick in the ass!" -Starita (Producer - Trevor Hall, Tribe Called Quest)
--"Chris is a singer-songwriter with an honest approach and style that really speaks to everyday people..." - J. Bowman (Lead Guitarist - Michael Franti & Spearhead)