Colin James is on stage at the Fredericton Playhouse in April

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Here’s five things you may not know about this Canadian blues legend.

Melissa Munn

In a world dominated by American music and American media, it can end up being pretty easy to overlook some of our own musical icons. Especially if they never ‘made it big’ south of the border. Colin James is a perfect example of this. With 19 studio albums to his name, dozens of singles and countless awards, it’s no exaggeration to say James is a giant on the Canadian music scene. And even though he has dabbled in the worlds of pop, swing and radio rock, he is best known to many as one of Canada’s most celebrated blues musicians. That said, there are still plenty of Canadian music fans who aren’t familiar with the name Colin James or his admirable career.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of five things you might not know about Colin James.

#1. June 26, 1984.

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Can’t Stand The Weather Tour rolled through Western Canada in June of 1984. After a last minute cancelation left Vaughan and Double Trouble without an opening act for dates in Saskatoon and Regina, James and his band The Hoodoo Men got the call and threw together a quick set of blues standards. These gigs brought The Hoodoo Men some well deserved attention and are credited for helping to launch James’ career.

#2. The influence of Morgan Davis.

James’ first single Five Long Years was released on vinyl with a B-side featuring a cover of the Morgan Davis song, Why’d You Lie?  Both these tracks would eventually appear on James’ self-titled debut album. 

#3. Your name is Mud?

Legend has it, James, born Colin James Munn, decided to drop his last name from his stage handle on advice he received from Stevie Ray Vaughan. Vaughan made the suggestion saying Munn sounded a lot like Mud when echoing through an arena P.A. System.

#4. “I have a tour van!”

James made a guest appearance on season 2 episode 15 of the Canadian sitcom Corner Gas. When Brent, Hank and Wanda decide to get their old band Thunderface back together, James is one of several musicians who show up and audition for the gig. Sadly, he didn’t get the part.

#5. Awards, Awards, Awards.

James has a total of 18 JUNO Award nominations and has won seven. His most recent win was the 2019 JUNO for Blues Album of the Year. He also has the rare distinction of winning every Maple Blues Award he has ever been nominated for. To date, James has 20 Maples Blues Awards.

Colin James and special guest Roxanne Potvin perform at the Fredericton Playhouse April 14. There are just a handful of tickets left. 

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