Lead guitar, bass, vocals, and songwriter.
Fred has co-written songs with Russell Smith and has written for Mell Tillis’ publishing company. Studio and road work with Billy Joe Shaver, Vern Gosdin, and Townes Van Zandt, among others. James was asked to become the singer and guitarist with the Memphis Horns.
At this point he began writing for Audigram Music, home of J.J. Cale. He wrote “Full Moon on Main Street,” which was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award as Best Blues Song of 1987. The following year he wrote “Lightning” for Johnny Winter’s Winter of ’88 album. The success of these two songs enabled James to start his own publishing company and really pursue the thriving “blues boom” of the ’90s. Song after the song started being recorded by artists like Koko Taylor, Johnny Winter, Junior Wells with Bonnie Raitt, Son Seals, C.J. Chenier, Katie Webster, and Charlie Musselwhite, and James secured five Grammy nominations in the process.
The list of people Fred James has played guitar for is a veritable who’s who of pop, soul, jazz, blues, and roots music: Johnny Copeland, Arthur Williams, the Jelly Roll Kings, Billy Joe Shaver, Bo Diddley, the Carter Brothers, the Memphis Horns, Dr. Hook, the Excello Legends, Tommy Tutone, Townes Van Zandt.