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Musician/Songwriter/Producer James Patke started playing in the Chicago music scene in 1988 and performed for over ten years in his bands Highway Child and The Raging Hipsters while in college. Prior to this, James played in Texas for a couple of years with the band Art Marvel appearing at colleges and local clubs between Austin and Dallas while attending SMU. Performing with notable acts like Big Head Todd and the Monsters, The Alarm, Hoodoo Gurus, Steppenwolf, Wishbone Ash, Quiet Riot, Drivin' n' Cryin', Dave Mason, Adrian Belew, and Buddy Guy. James has entertained many with his guitar blues-based jam rock.
Growing up in the northern Chicago suburbs of Lake Forest, James Henley started piano lessons at age 5 and guitar at age 6. It's no wonder James Patke is a musician with many family musical influences including the pioneer of jazz drumming, Gene Krupa. James took 2 years of lessons from internationally known guitarist, Michael Angelo Batio, who has won many accolades for the best guitar shredder and is the inventor of the twin neck right and left handed guitar. James Henley’s parents have a music background. His mother, Elizabeth played piano and violin and performed many symphonies with her father, Joseph who was a conductor. James' father, Marshall played accordian and is the second cousin of the big band era drummer, Gene Krupa who played with Benny Goodman.
Patke experienced a creative musical environment that molded his current approach to playing and songwriting. "I started writing music in high school and stuck with it. It’s now a cathartic process for me and essential for a balanced life." James Henley's songwriting has a unique blend of structure and free form jams that gives the songs depth but at the same time delivering intense grooves. "I feel that Richard Thompson is my model songwriter. Even though my music is far from Richard's genre, the artistic atmosphere with imaginative lyrics in his songs is very inspirational to me. I try to translate this type of communication in my music. I want an original, creative sound containing technical musical and lyrical elements within a blues-rock structure that gets listeners…….excited."
Not only a good songwriter, James Patke’s guitar playing features several influences to make up a unique energetic style. "I grew up listening to Hendrix, Clapton, Jeff Beck, Duane Allman, Johnny Winter and Santana merging their playing styles to form a uniform, blended sound." James has an energy level with his playing that packs a powerful punch behind each note.
James continued to play many Chicago clubs after earning his MBA then moved to Atlanta in 1999 and established The James Henley Band in 2002.