It would be an understatement to say that James House has a vast and impressive body of work—the man has written a boat load of hits, plays a wicked guitar, owns his own studio as well as a record label and has this soulful booming voice that can stop you in your
The Sacramento, California native got his first guitar when he was just 12-years old, a gift from his mom. It seems as if from that point on, House was fully bound to music, and that connection is something that has never ended.
Broken Glass Twisted Steel is the brand new project from James House, and while the artist has been busy in other areas of music, this is his first solo album in quite some time. The person we should all be quite grateful to for that happy event is choreographer
Yvonne Anderson in the United Kingdom. But more on that later.
Broken Glass Twisted Steel includes 11 outstanding songs, all written or co-written by House. The project drops both digitally and physically on April 29th on Victor House Records— House's own multi-genre label that he launched this past year.
James House started playing publicly when he was 18, and had that first guitar at 12, but he embarked on his musical path much earlier. “What influences your tastes is usually a combination of your friends, family and location,” says House. In addition to the record
parties, where friends and relatives brought their favorite albums to the House family home, his dad, along with three uncles, had a cowboy singing outfit called the House Brothers Quartet. “That was the first music I heard,” he remembers. “They were honest to God singing cowboys, so between that, and the Bakersfield sounding stuff that mom loved, like Buck Owens and
Merle Haggard, I was constantly exposed to a lot of different music from an early age.”
There were many other early musical inspirations for House: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and others entrenched in that California Country Rock vein.
By the time House started college he was playing solo and performing five nights a week at a local place called the Elegant Barn. By then he already knew he'd be in music for the long haul. House was signed to Atlantic Records in the early 80's -- “a
learning experience” says House -- but the songs from that time were cut by many respected artists, including Rita Coolidge, Fiona, Fee Waybill, Lisa Hartman and Kylie Minogue. Between the many commercial jingles that House recorded and the movie soundtracks that he sang on, such as Teen Wolf ll, Speed Zone, Fire With Fire, and Gleaming The Cube, the artist was doing quite well for himself.
There were other exciting and unique projects too. For one, House was called to coach the iconic actor Dustin Hoffman for his singing parts in the film, Ishtar. “I would sing the line for him and then he'd try that line back. He was very funny and a great guy to work
with.” House also helped out the Latin singing sensation Julio Iglesias. “I would sing the English versions of his songs to give Julio an English
version to listen to while he was recording.”
Despite all of these once in a lifetime experiences, House felt Nashville calling. His Country roots were tugging at him. House made the move to Nashville in 1988, signing an artist deal with MCA Records. He recorded two albums for MCA, James House and Hard Times For An Honest Man. He had chart success with the singles, “Don't Quit Me Now,” “Hard Times For An Honest Man” and “That'll Be The Last Thing.”
In 1995 House moved over to Epic Records and released the album Days Gone By. That project produced his biggest hit to date as the single, “This Is Me Missing You,” stormed up the charts to #6. By this point, House was also entering a new phase. Other major artists were recording his songs and having huge success. Diamond
Rio struck gold with House's “In A Week Or Two,” Dwight Yoakam did the same with “Ain't That Lonely Yet” and a few years later Martina McBride had one of the biggest hits of her career with “A Broken Wing.” Reading off the list of artists that have covered songs by House sounds like a multi-format all-star cast: Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Bonnie Tyler, The Mavericks, Olivia Newton- John, Lorrie Morgan, Sara Evans, David Ball, Craig Morgan and many others.
By 2008, House observed that a number of things had changed the way that the music industry was doing business, and he wanted more control of his own destiny. “I wanted to be able to make my own records the way I felt they should be made,” House says. He
did exactly that by opening his own home-studio. He christened it, with his tongue firmly in cheek, 'Dream-On Studios.' “I have worked with a lot of extraordinary producers and learned from all of them. So I bought my own gear and learned the entire process of producing a record. I must say that the learning curve was intense,” he adds.
If you've seen House play live, you know he can really play the guitar. Even so, he has created an outlet for his alter-ego that allows him to stretch out on the instrument he loves. Along with his producer and bass playing partner Michael Bradford and guitarist
Lou Toomey, House formed the Troubadour Kings, a band that released its debut album, Ghost of Juarez, in February. “The bluesy rock music we play gives me that freedom to get creative with my guitar,” says House. “Who wrote the rule that an artist can do only one type of music? Like most artists, I was influenced by many different kinds of music, so I try to keep from
tripping over those imaginary boundaries that sometimes place you in a box, musically speaking.”
When House launched Victor House Records, it was with the intention of building a company that would welcome talented artists of all kinds. Victor House is the home to the Troubadour Kings and House's solo career, plus they've also signed rocker AV Super Sunshine and House is currently producing a new EP for Tayla Lynn, granddaughter of the great Loretta Lynn.
Which segues quite nicely into why House has released a new country CD after a few years away from being in that particular spotlight. In late 2013, a UK-based choreographer named Yvonne Anderson created a dance to House’s song “This Is Me Missing You.” The song raced up the Dance Charts in the United Kingdom, almost 20-years after its initial release, which is sort of remarkable. That was followed by “Little By Little” and “A Good Way To Wind Up Lonesome,” also shooting up the charts. Thousands of music fans in the UK have been line-dancing to these great songs every night
since. “I'm humbled and grateful by the whole thing and that it happened in the UK where so much of the music I love comes from,” the artist reflects. “I had been toying with the idea of doing some sort of greatest hits album anyway, but after all of this new-found success in the UK, there was even more reason.”
Hence the release of Broken Glass Twisted Steel. The project contains newly recorded versions of his classics “Ain't That Lonely Yet,” “In A Week Or Two” and “A Broken Wing,” and several brand new songs that clearly demonstrate that House's writing is as
prolific as ever.
The first single from the album is “Every Time It Rains,” a song that House wrote recently with co-producer Michael Bradford. “We came up with it about six months ago, and I almost forgot about it,” says
House. “We thought it was the perfect choice for the first single, so I'm glad it showed up when it did.”
With the album done, House is now ready to take to the road. He already has 16 concert dates planned for this summer in the UK, followed by what looks like more European touring and then a U.S. swing.“We're going to see what happens,” says House. “If this album is well received there will be another album, and then another and another.”
As good as Broken Glass Twisted Steel sounds, it certainly seems like we'll be asking him for more, sooner rather than later.
For the latest on James House, including up to date concert information, visit www.jameshousemusic.com.