James Christensen exhibits a range that defies easy categorization. Lyrically and melodically driven, his songs explore familiar themes from unfamiliar angles, attempting to pin down the truths that hold us all together. Singing with a mix of anger, empathy, sadness, and joy, his performances are earnest and heartfelt. His recently released second CD, ""Bull Rush,"" features strong lyrics in a high-energy recording that includes several outstanding guest musicians. ""It's about working and drinking and getting through hard times as best you can,"" says Christensen. Real people and settings--denizens of pubs and blue-collar bars--figure prominently in his anthems of the working class.
Christensen's talent belies the fact that he has no formal music training. A drifter in early adulthood, the tragic death of his older brother compelled him to structure his life in pursuit of a goal: becoming a musician. ""I wanted to carry on a legacy for Steve,"" Christensen says. ""We were close growing up even though we fought. He was organized and methodical, while I tend to fly by the seat of my pants."" Christensen's wish to honor his brother led to him marshalling his energies to teach himself guitar and start writing songs.
While working an array of jobs--including pumping cesspools, assembling toys, and selling ladies' shoes--Christensen taught himself guitar by working through chord books and studying his favorite songwriters, such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Lucinda Williams. ""I was in an apartment on my own with no cable or Internet, so I spent my time practicing,"" Christensen says.
Christensen's discography includes his first CD, Road to Be Free and the soon to be released ""Bull Rush."" Several tunes are available on his website, www.jamesmusic.net for free download.
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