James Williams started playing guitar at age thirteen after hearing Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland. He learned guitar at an accelerated pace, wearing out the phonograph playing Hendrix, Robin Trower, Gary Moore, Larry Carlton, Humble Pie, Johnny Winter, Pat Travers and Frank Marino. James notes: “As a kid, before playing guitar, I was exposed to a lot of classical, so naturally I also gravitated towards neoclassical guitar shred and was inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth and Al Di Meola. I draw inspiration from blues greats Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Albert King, and Albert Collins. They are pretty much the foundation for all blues rock music.”
James was featured by Mike Varney’s spotlight column in Guitar Player magazine. Varney later signed James to a record deal on the legendary Magna Carta record label. As James explains, “I produced and wrote a vocal neoclassical progressive metal guitar album titled X Opus The Epiphany. I followed that up with another release, an all-instrumental shred guitar album titled James Williams Eclectic Shred that received international notoriety among progressive metal shred guitar enthusiasts.”
Helping to add to this epic progressive guitar album, James says “I was very excited and thankful to have guest artists Mike LePond on bass from Symphony X and Matt Gilroy on keyboards from James Labree’s Dream Theater.
With the ability to play every style of music skillfully, James was sought after to record and tour with the late great smooth jazz funk bassist Wayman Tisdale on Atlantic records. “I was signed to Tisway Productions” says James, “and for two years recorded and toured on Atlantic records.”
James played guitar on Wayman’s Decisions cd along with legendary guitarist Norman Brown, producer bassist Marcus Miller, Grammy winning vocalist Lalah Hathaway, and jazz sax extraordinaire Gerald Albright.
In addition, James has played guitar for black gospel churches, and performed on guitar for televised events on the International TBN and Daystar TV. He also has played for several mega gospel churches, and his guitar skills have been sought after for recordings with gospel greats like James Ingram, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and many others.
James Williams’ playing continues to shine in the realm of progressive blues guitar and jazz fusion, as 2022 brings in his latest fresh musical contributions that will appeal to fans of Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Robin Trower Muddy Waters, BB King, Elmore James, and of course, Jimi Hendrix!