Teresa James to bring R&B attitude to Boulevard Music

(Photo by Mary Keating Bruton)

Bluesy R&B singer Teresa James plays Boulevard Music this weekend, alongside Bruce Forman. It’s a special show for James, she says, because “it is only the second time that I have had the pleasure of working with Bruce and is very different from the music and format that I usually play. I have always been a big fan of his and was thrilled when he invited me to come and sing with him. If you’re not familiar with his music, he is a consummate guitarist in the style of Barney Kessel.” She spoke to the CCN about what she has planned…

When did you start playing and performing? 

I started singing and playing piano when I was in elementary school and have been doing it ever since. I am mostly known as a blues singer and have had my band, the Rhythm Tramps, together for over 20 years. During that time, we have released 12 albums and toured all over the US and Europe. 

Describe your sound/style?

My singing style is very bluesy and leans toward a soul/old school R&B attitude, but I have done a lot of different styles during my career. I have been very fortunate to have made my living singing and playing music for most of my life – I’ve sung on lots of records and songs for TV and movies and have toured with several bands as diverse as an all-girl hard rock band, a jazz saxophonist and with ‘60s legend, Eric Burdon. I have done many recording sessions and song demos for amazing writers including Burt Bacharach, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Steve Dorff and many others. 

What are your career highlights so far?

A 2019 Grammy nomination for my band CD, Here in Babylon, for Contemporary Blues Album. Also, this year, I have been nominated by the Blues Foundation for a 2023 Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Female category. I was also nominated in the same category in 2008.

What recorded music is available — particularly the most recent?

All of my CDs are available on just about every format for purchase or streaming, including my latest which was released in January of this year. My husband, Terry Wilson, is my partner in the band and he is a very prolific writer and a brilliant producer. All of our other releases are comprised of original music, but this new release is a compilation of Beatles songs that we reinvented with the idea to present them as if they had been recorded in Memphis or Muscle Shoals or Texas (where my husband and I grew up) – with a more bluesy/R&B style. It has been very well received and debuted its first week on the Billboard Blues sales chart at number 9.

Have you performed at Boulevard Music before?
I have not had the pleasure of performing at Boulevard before. I have seen shows there before and am really looking forward to it.

What can the audience expect from the set this time?

This show is going to be very special for me. Getting to sing along with Bruce’s amazing guitar work is always an amazing experience and I grew up listening to a lot of the songs that we will be performing on Saturday, so most of the songs have special meaning for me. We both approach our music with a sense of humor and a lighthearted manner, so it should be a very fun night.

What else do you have coming up?

I am currently in the process of working on another album of original music with my band that will be out in the fall. We will also be doing some touring shows throughout the summer.

Teresa James performs alongside Bruce Forman at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 1 at Boulevard Music. Go to boulevardmusic.com for more information.

Elsewhere this week

The Culver Hotel will be hosting the likes of Sylvia & the Rhythm Boys, and Scotty Bramer. Go to culverhotel.com for more info.

There’s a full program of music at the Cinema Bar this week, as usual. The Hot Club of Los Angeles plays every Monday, and Wednesdays are singer/songwriter and open mic night. Other artists performing this week include the Hillbilly Soul Surfers, Bruce Ray White & the Random Band, and Tom Freund & Walter Salas Humara. Go to thecinemabar.com for more info.