Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 21 March '55, Sacramento CA) Nashville-based singer-songwriter. Grew up in a family of farmers in Oregon; father and uncles performed as the House Brothers harmony quartet singing mainly cowboy songs, appeared twice on Arthur Godfrey show. James signed to Warner-Curb '79 with country-rock outfit Prisoner, then on Atlantic '82; songwriting led to songs being used in films incl. Ishtar, for which he also worked as vocal coach for Dustin Hoffman, and Michael J. Fox's Teen Wolf. Moved to Nashville '88, signed to MCA, released several singles and albums James House and Hard Times For An Honest Man, well reviewed but failed commercially. Concentrated on his songwriting and came up with no. 1 country hits 'Ain't That Lonely Yet' (Dwight Yoakam), 'In A Week Or Two' (Diamond Rio). This led to a contract with Epic '93 and his breakthrough with 'Little By Little' '95 and successful album Days Gone By. Joined forces with Beach Boys on their Nashville album Stars And Stripes '96, and toured with them (remake of 'Little Deuce Coupe' made the Billboard pop chart). No Surrender '96 continued the successful, expansive country sound of the first Epic album.