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James Richards makes music to live but not for a living, lending his voice and multi-instrumental work mostly for campfire sing-a-longs, benefits, house parties, and places of worship. A classically trained singer steeped in "Blue Ridge certified acousticfunkgrass", James looks to Lightnin' Hopkins, Otis Redding and Peter Gabriel among others for inspiration. He has shared stages with Peggy Seeger, Stacy Earle and Mark Stuart, Ellis Paul, and David Lamotte among many others.
A recent Brooklyn transplant, after completing a 40 date southeast “Hello and Farewell Tour,” James is woodshedding songs for a new album, “Hearts and Minds,” while collaborating with local musicians at venues ranging from Joe's Pub and Webster Hall to the Bitter End and Sunny's. He also volunteers with Musicians on Call, bringing music to metro hospitals.
James put musical roots in Asheville, NC, releasing two albums “Red Kelly – Apparitions” and “The Asheville Sessions”. When not behind a stage mic, James worked the radio mic as a producer and DJ for WNCW - Spindale and WOLX 98.1 The River. He also collaborated with WNC groups like Night's Bright Colors, Now You See Them, Nevada and film-maker Paul Schattel.
As an organizer, on Valentine's Day 2010, James co-produced an 8-band re-imagining of the Magnetic Fields magnum opus "69 Love Songs" in its entirety. He also co-curated the first Asheville Video Music Awards.
James grew up on a cattle farm in Paris, KY, feeding the cows every morning unless he could get out of it. Thankfully, he never had to milk anything.