James Harman was born and raised in Anniston, Alabama where he quickly picked up on the black blues and soul music being played on juke boxes and the radio. He sang in the church choir until age 16 when his family moved to Panama City Florida, where he found himself surrounded by like-minded blues lovers. Wearing a fake moustache, young James slipped into a still segregated black nightclub to see Little Junior Parker’s show. He was totally overtaken by the blues and soon became a regular, known as “That boy who sings like a man” by patrons.
While still in his teens, he started playing juke joints and dance clubs throughout the South. His performances became legendary-he was “tapped” by talent scouts, signed and taken to Atlanta, Georgia in 1964 to begin his recording career at age 18. He had a series of nine singles (45’s) released during the mid to late 60’s on obscure southern labels. He tried several restarts in new home bases including Chicago in ’65, New York in ’66, Miami in ’68 and New Orleans in ’69.
During his stay in Miami, Harman was befriended by fellow record collectors Henry Vestine, Alan Wilson and Bob Hite of Canned Heat, who persuaded him to move to California, promising to help him get re-started. Harman made his move to SoCal in 1970, and true to their word, Canned Heat insisted on Harman’s Icehouse Blues Band as their opening act on many big shows. Icehouse Blues Band became established at venues such as The Golden Bear, The Ash Grove, The Troubadour and The Lighthouse, which all booked real blues artists.
James Harman was soon in demand for his own shows, as well as backing every living blues artist who was touring without a band. He also opened literally hundreds of shows for artists who did have their own band. In 1978 James tired of using band names and started billing his act as James Harman Band.
James Harman’s side project The Bamboo Porch Revue features guitarist Nathan James playing rollicking, low-down, juke-joint blues over James Michael Tempo’s Afro-Cuban percussion, Troy Sandow’s sparse, pulsating acoustic bass and Marty Dodson’s masterful drumming. Through his long career starting in the early 60’s James Harman has built up an enormous song catalog and has had 20 of his original songs used in movies and television. He has been nominated for 20 W. C. Handy (BMA) awards. He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, and has had 33 releases, on many different labels. He currently tours every spring, summer and fall, working in as many as 29 countries, and has appeared at the Edmonton Blues Festival on 3 separate occasions. Harman was nominated for a Grammy Award, and won two Blues Music Awards for his contribution to the Blind Pig release, “Remembering Little Walter” in 2014. He is a one of a kind song writer, producer, musician, showman, vocalist and internationally known bluesman.
In 2015 Electro-Fi released “Bonetime”, which was nominated for an unprecedented five BMA awards: SONG OF THE YEAR, ALBUM OF THE YEAR, TRADITIONAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR, HARMONICA PLAYER and TRADITIONAL BLUES MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR.
It’s gonna be a hot, sweaty, fun-filled evening at the Bamboo Porch and y’all are invited! Be there!!