Ernest James, a professional zydeco and blues musician for over 15 years, draws on his southern roots to share with his joy in his music. The band is anticipating the release of their brand new recording: "3 Steps from La La,” a cd that was recorded live with the full band in the studio. Ernest James sings lead vocals, plays accordion, resonator slide guitar, guitar, and piano. Tony LaCroix sings harmony vocals and plays guitar. He has been called the best roots guitarist in KC. Barry Bob Barnes rubs the washboard for the band and is a multi instrumentalist and performance artist who brings great spirit to the band. Mike Stover plays bass guitar. A multi instrumentalist of immeasurable talent, he is an integral member of many KC bands. Jaisson C. Taylor, a veteran on drums, has toured the world and played with the likes of McKinley Morganfield, Koko Taylor, Bill Withers and countless other R&B and Blues greats. His presence in the band represents a tie to a great musical legacy. The band has had this line up since 2008 and has recorded three studio albums to date: 2008's break through "Jubilee," 2010's follow up "Roots Rocket Radio," and the strong, new 2012 work "3 Steps from La La." This album features Betse Wilder (of The Wilders) on fiddle.
From Ernest James:
“My daddy’s family comes from Pineville Louisiana, where the dogwoods grow out in the woods. He left there as a young man and moved to the west coast Bay Area. So many creoles and cajuns left Louisiana in the 50s and 60s and moved to California looking for work and a better life. I grew up in a zydeco oasis in Oakland California, not realizing it till going back and seeing so many bands playing in the San Francisco area. Throughout life I have revisited my family’s ties with Pineville, Alexandria and Louisiana, trying to understand why my daddy left it long ago. In the process I have found my music fits into the zydeco tradition, bringing a strong past of blues to the accordion based band. Now blues and zydeco are just a part of who I am and how I express what I see in life.”
Reviews of 3 Steps from La La:
"The Zydeco influence is strong, but this CD is very complex, pleasing, and sure to be played over and over again. Ernest James Zydeco play Zydeco in a way I have never heard before. It is delightful." -Juke Joint Junkie: 11/2012
"Hits on all tracks!" -Phillip Smith of Media Mikes 12/5/2012
"What one would expect to hear walking into the door of a jumpin’ and jivin’ fais do-do. Lovers of well-crafted and no-pretense music would do well to add this to their audio libraries." -Michael Byars, The Deli Magazine 11/30/12
"I just finished listening to "La La", and it's a gin-u-wine stunner! The most difficult strait to navigate in playing roots music is often repecting the stylistic boundaries of some forms of traditional music while making a statement that is both new and authentic. Well, it seems to me that EJZ found a way to remain true to the authenticity of Zydeco, and expand it's boundaries at the same time. The production values are outstanding, the performances are heart-felt, skin-tight, and professional. If this one doesn't get national attention, I'm gonna be waaaay surprized."
-Michael Vande, KC Blues Scene 12/3/2012