Singer-songwriters come in all styles and genres these days, and Fiddlers Crossing will be showcasing several of them this year. James Hurley embodies many of them in a single concert, from jazz and blues to pop, rock and folk. Saturday, February 23, Hurley will return to Tehachapi for a 7 p.m. concert at Fiddlers Crossing. He last played here several years ago to an enthusiastic crowd at Mama Hillybeans.
Hurley’s music has been described as “Americana…on the rocks, with a twist.” His virtuosic guitar playing shows the influences of listening to his father’s jazz records when he was a boy, along with blues, folk and a little Led Zeppelin. His songs tell stories like those in the music of the “Old Country” stars he loved growing up. Mix in his smooth yet bluesy voice, wry humor and honesty, and you see why James Hurley concerts are so popular among acoustic music fans up and down the West Coast.
An “army brat,” the Hurley family moved all over the world. When his dad retired from Fort Ord, the family stayed in California. From an early age, it was the songs that reached out and grabbed James Hurley’s attention. He remembers singing the chorus from the Jimmie Rogers’s song, “Oh, oh, I’m Fallin’ in Love Again” at the age of three or four, non-stop for days.
His musical training started when a
With his rodeo days behind him, he started joining bands, playing dance music on the road. He moved from band to band, and lost count at close to 100 different groups. In the late 1980s, he had had enough. He had been writing songs all along, but was not able to use them in the dance bands.
Throughout the 1990s, Hurley put together various bands – mostly trios -- to play his songs in shows and clubs all over LA. He also did a project called “Erock For Kids” that played festivals, charity events and in children’s hospitals.
After moves to Oregon and Arizona at the turn of the century, and more “James Hurley Trio” combinations, a friend invited him to an open mic at a coffeehouse. He didn’t even know what that was, but borrowed an acoustic guitar and played a couple of songs.
“That's when everything changed for me,” he said. “The most recent trio had just imploded and I was feeling pretty discouraged about music in general. But here I was playing songs I had written, for people that not only listened, but appreciated the music --
my own blend of jazz, blues, rock, pop, and folk influences. I realized that I needed to trim down to the essentials. So now it's just me and my guitar and an endless highway.”
Fiddlers Crossing is at 206 East F Street at Robinson Street, in Downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased next door at Mountain Music, at The Apple Shed, or with a credit card by calling 661-823-9994. Tickets to the concert are $15, and as always, coffee and goodies are included. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30p.m. Please note also, that Fiddlers Crossing concerts have been selling out, so be sure to get your tickets ahead of time.