Catfood Records artists James Armstrong has an ambitious schedule of tour dates beginning in early 2018 in support of his critically-acclaimed latest CD, Blues Been Good to Me, which he produced with Blues Music Award-winner Johnny Rawls. This is his third album for Catfood, following Blues at the Border (2011) and Guitar Angels (2014).
Recorded primarily at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis, as well as at associate producer Jim Gaines’ Bessie Blue Studio in Tennessee, Blues Been Good to Me showcases the vocals and guitar of James Armstrong, backed by a hand-picked group of musicians who have played with him on numerous live shows, which made for a very comfortable fit.
“Whenever I’m working on a new CD, I always like to be extremely prepared,” says James Armstrong about the recording process. “On this project, it didn’t turn out that way, which seems like a blessing in hindsight. I was extremely busy when I was writing songs and arranging music for this project. Four months prior to going into record, I played over 70 shows. I had a European Tour in March and did 19 shows in 25 days in different cities, came home for two weeks and worked in the States and then flew to Spain for two weeks playing 12 shows back-to-back in different cities in 14 days.
“When we got into the studio in St. Louis, everyone knew how stressed I was because I didn’t feel prepared. Prior to the session, I had sent demos for everyone to hear. Two songs I had to finish writing at the session, ‘Second Time Around’ and ‘Old Man in the Morning,’ but I told myself that I was just going to see what happens. I had asked Johnny Rawls to produce the CD with me, who is a master and a veteran at recording.
“Working with the legendary Jim Gaines as associate producer was a special treat. I recorded all of my guitar and vocals at his studio in Tennessee. Jim really helped me get over some of my fears and limitations from my injury in 1995 which resulted in permanent nerve damage to my left hand. I was able to do things on the guitar I have not been able to do since my injury.”
The 10 tracks on the new CD include originals, as well as cool covers of songs from Robert Palmer (“Addicted to Love”), and Marvin Gaye (“How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You”).
Armstrong explains the genesis of the two cover songs: “Growing up in California as a teenager I wanted to be Jimi Hendrix. I listened and played a lot of rock ‘n’ roll. Darryl Wright (bass player on the CD) came to me with this song idea to put in to my live show. After doing it for a while, I realized I wanted to record it. I always enjoy changing certain song formats like rock, country, etc. into my style of the blues.
“I’ve always loved Marvin Gaye’s and James Taylor’s versions of ‘How Sweet It Is,’ so I decided to speed it up with a swing-shuffle feel. With my country music background, I wanted to add a little country guitar lick in there. Also, I’ve never heard the song done before with slide guitar.”
Armstrong also reprises a new version of “Sleeping with a Stranger, a song he originally recorded as the title track of his first album for HighTone Records. “I wrote and recorded ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’ for HighTone Records in 1995, and it was the first song I ever had any major success with. I stopped playing it in my live shows for the last ten years but I’m always getting requests to do it. I decided to re-record it. In the early ‘90s I was in a relationship that I was not happy with. One morning, I woke up and there was a poem that she wrote called ‘Sleeping with a Stranger’ on her pillow. I changed a few words, added music and the next thing I knew I had a song.” For more information visit: www.jarmblues.com and www.catfoodrecords.com.
-Wed Jan 17 2018 – Englewood’s on Dearborn Bar – Englewood, FL
-Fri Jan 19 2018 – The Barrel Room – Fort Myers, FL
-Sat Jan 20 2018 – Bayside Grille & Sunset Bar – Key Largo, FL
-Sun Jan 21 2018 – Shark Bar – Fort Myers Beach, FL
-Wed Jan 24 2018 – Zoo Bar – Lincoln, NE
-Thu Jan 25 2018 – Chrome Lounge – Omaha, NE
-Fri Jan 26 2018 – Skyline Bar and Casino – North Sioux City, SD
-Mon Jan 29 2018 – Lake Effect – Salt Lake City, UT
-Wed Jan 31 2018 – Momo (Sacramento Blues Society) – Sacramento CA
-Thu Feb 1 2018 – Biscuits and Blues – San Francisco, CA
-Fri Feb 2 2018 – Biscuits and Blues – San Francisco, CA
-Sat Feb 3 2018 – Arena Theater – Point Arena, CA
-Mon Feb 5 2018 – Tallman Hotel – Upper Lake, CA
-Fri Feb 9 2018 – Hong Kong Inn – Ventura, CA
-Sat Feb 10 – Big Mama’s Rib Shack – Pasadena CA
-Sun Feb 11 – Malarkeys Grill – Long Beach CA
-Mon Feb 12 – Maui’s Sugar Mill Saloon – Tarzana CA
-Fri Feb 16 2018 – Bradfordville Blues Club – Tallahassee, FL
-Sat Feb 17 2018 – Blind Willie’s – Atlanta, GA
-Sun Feb 18 2018 – Capitol Oyster Bar – Montgomery, AL
-Mon Feb 19 2018 – Amelia Community Center – Fernandina Beach, FL