New England has a well-established blues community, with many great players, but there are also many up-and-coming artists emerging, ready to take the blues into the future. At the forefront is guitarist James Pitts and his band the James Pitts Band, who performs at the Strange Brew Tavern in Manchester on July 21.
Pitts has been performing and recording for over 25 years, citing a long list of inspirations that includes Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Gales, and Chris Cain. It’s no coincidence that the list of artists is heavily blues influenced.
“I play the blues because it is honest,” he said. “There’s no B.S. You can feel it. That is what music is all about. Sure, it needs to sound good, but for me, the feeling always comes first. Especially as a guitarist, it needs to come from your soul,” he continued.
“People can tell if you are being truthful and sincere. That’s what the blues is all about. You can’t fake it. That’s why I love it.”
Born in Salem, Mass, Pitts moved around quite a bit. He grew up primarily in Woburn. “We moved a lot while I was growing up,some how I always found my way back to Woburn” he recalled. “Whether I had to walk or ride a bike I would get there.”
Pitts choice of music as a career was likely influenced by his family. “I was really fortunate to have a music-loving family, most of whom played some kind of instrument” he said. “There was always an amazing album blasting in the house. We don’t listen to music quietly in my family,” he laughed.
“One of my earliest memories is sitting at my grandmothers piano and trying to play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. ”
Over the years Pitts has managed to share the stage with some great acts, like Pat Travers, Little Milton, Bill Murray, Eric Gales, Odell Reed, Michelle Blackmon and even spent some time playing guitar for Ray Drew, Bobby Blands former guitarist. "Playing with Ray was a great experience, I learned a lot playing with him" he said.
For his band, Pitts has spent a lot of time trying to find the right players. “I attended a lot of blues jams, and posted a lot of ads” he said. “My wife and I have been hosting a jam for the last couple years and I met my bass player Chris Chesna through that."
Chesna has became a mainstay of the James Pitts Band. “The James Pitts Band has only been together about two years now, Chris has been with me for about a year” he said. “We really have fun playing music together, we're putting in all the time and effort to really try to make a great band and great music."
Pitts says "Right now I've got a lot of music I've written over the years, and quite a bit of newer material I've written over the last year or so." "We're hoping to have our first CD recorded and ready for release before the end of the year."
“People really love when I do Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix songs, and they also love the originals. There is one song in particular that will be coming out on the CD that’s called “Misery” that everyone really seems to like a lot,” he said. “It's a song about other people's misery and how it kind of seeps into your life and affects you, it's more of a blues-rock song.”
For his part, Pitts is happy with his career path, "We have a lot of fun that's for sure,” he said. “It is such a gift. We get to go up on stage and help people forget about their stress and their worries and just have fun.
“To be able to put a smile on someone’s face and help them forget about a bad day. That is what it is all about,” he said.
Where: The Village Trestle
January 18, 8pm-12am
You can find James Pitts Band online at:
James Pitts Band site
If you get the chance to see The James PItts Band I highly recommend checking them out.
The James Pitts Band - Misery live.