Never one to follow convention and always one to think for himself, Nathan James has created a musical identity with his homemade instruments and self taught skills. Armed with his handcrafted washboard guitar and stomping out time on a box made of old fence boards, while singing and blowing harmonica, you are sure to be captivated. Nathan James is a well respected and experienced artist in his field. For over 20 years now he has successfully made his living touring and recording, solely specializing in his passion for blues and American roots music. 

   Drawing from a deep well of influences from many early roots artists and styles, James was quickly attracted to the individuality of self made music and artistic expression from an early age. Growing up in the small agricultural town of Fallbrook California has been influential in choosing his life path because he could relate to music originating from a rural environment.  "There wasn't a lot to do here, so you either got in trouble or found something productive to do with what you had around you!" Having supportive parents that didn't force him into college after high school allowed Nathan to go straight into the real world of a ‘working musician’.  At age 19 Nathan got the call from internationally known blues veteran James Harman to join his band and tour the country. With Harman is where he gained the experience that has shaped most of his own career. 

    In 2007 Nathan entered the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN with Ben Hernandez and took 1st place.  During his career Nathan has worked with other many well known artists including: Kim Wilson, Pinetop Perkins, Billy Boy Arnold, Lazy Lester, Johnny Dyer, Rick Holmstrom, Janiva Magness, Mark Hummel and Gary Primich. Nathan has brought his music to concerts and festivals in Argentina, Russia, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Faroe Islands, Taiwan, Canada and Mexico, as well as all over the United States. 

Currently Nathan's main occupations are his solo act and his Band the Rhythm Scratchers:      

Solo:    

    Nathan James is a true original American roots music artist who makes a lot of sound pickin' and scratchin' on his handmade invention of washboard guitar; stomping out funky beats on his custom foot percussion box; while singing and blowing harmonica or kazoo to his own original music. But aside from all of these tools of the trade, his main focus is well crafted songwriting and his artistry is far from just a live show gimmick.

Band:

    Nathan’s three piece band the Rhythm Scratchers has forged a cumulative sound that combines elements of 1920's acoustic blues, amplified juke joint hill country, and 1950's uptown blues mixed with 1960's soulful R&B! Influences range from Tampa Red, to B.B. King, to James Brown and the Famous Flames. This is not your average blues power trio that leans towards the much abused "blues rock" formula. Instead each member in the band knows all the nuances of the different feels and tones. Knowing how to get people's attention, Nathan will often go out solo from the bandstand and burst into a frenzied ragtime breakdown that can lead to a washboard solo on his custom LED lit 'Washtar Gitboard'! Another unique aspect of a live show is band mate Troy Sandow. He may start off the set on upright bass while Nathan will play an uptown lead guitar style in the vein of B.B. or T-bone Walker. Then he will switch over to amplified harmonica and Nathan will fingerpick a driving groove on his baritone guitar in the style of R.L. Burnside or Lightnin' Hopkins. Although Nathan's band pays homage to these traditions and has the same quality of musicianship, there is an original and fresh new energy coming from musicians of a much younger generation.
 


SOME NATHAN JAMES PERFORMANCE HISTORY:

2019
Calgary Blues Fest, Ottawa Canada 
Kristinehamn Blues Festival, Kristinehamn Sweden 
Ottawa Blues Fest, Ottawa Canada
Terri'Thouars Blues Fest, Thouars France 

2018
European tour to Spain, France, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands  
Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, Eastern Caribbean 

2017
Tour to Argentina 
Edmonton Blues Fest, Edmonton Canada 
Augusti Blues Festival, Haapsalu Estonia 
Amal Blues Fest, Amal Sweden 
Zwarte Cross Festival, Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands 
Tour to Moscow, and St. Petersburg Russia 

 

2016
Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival, Winthrop WA
Sunbanks Festival, Electric City WA
Gator by the Bay Festival, San Diego CA


2015

Rose City Blues Festival, Portland OR

Vache de Blues Festival, Villerupt France

Cognac Blues Passions Festival, Cognac France

Jazz in June Festival, Norman Oklahoma

Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise to the Caribbean 

2014

Riverfront Blues Festival, Wilmington, Delaware 

Benicassim Blues Festival, Benicassim Spain

2013

Lucerne Blues Festival, Lucerne Switzerland 

Caceres Blues Festival, Caceres Spain

Moulin Blues Festival, Ospel Holland

2012 

San Felipe Blues and Art Festival, San Felipe Mexico

Festival “Quai Des Blues”, Regneville Sur Mer, France

Lahti Blues Festival, Finland
 

2011
Barcelona Blues Festival, Barcelona, Spain
Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland OR
Blues Alive Festival, Cuijk, NL
Southern Blues Night Festival, Heerlen, NL
Gator by the Bay Festival, San Diego, CA

 

2010
Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival, Winthrop WA
King Biscuit Blues Festival, Helena Arkansas
Copenhagen Blues Festival, CPH, Denmark
Doheney Blues Festival, Dana Point, CA
Gator by the Bay Festival, San Diego, CA

 

2009
Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival, Winthrop WA
G! Festival, Faroe Islands, Europe
Mönsteras Blues Festival, Mönsteras Sweden
Eutin Blues Festival, Eutin Germany
Kwadendamme Bluesfestival, Holland

 

2008
Edmonton LaBatt’s Fest, Edmonton Canada
Rouge River Valley Festival, Ashland OR

 

2007
Intl. Blues Challenge winner for Duo/solo
Memphis TN
Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA
Rootsway and Novellara Festivals, Italy
Novellara Blues Fest, Italy
Delta Blues Fest, Italy
Waterfront Blues Festival, Portland OR
Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, San Diego to Mexico
Blues Bash 4, Taipei, Taiwan

 

2006
Arkansas Blues And Heritage Fest, Helena AK
Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA

 

2005

Doheny Blues Festival, Dana Point CA
Bay Car Festival, Grande Synthe, France

2003

San Francisco Blues Festival, SF CA
 

1998 

Long Beach Blues Festival