"Guitar" James started playing when he was fifteen years old, and after a while he and Lee "Scrap Iron" Raines joined up in a band and eventually pulled in Kenny Allyn and Brian Haislip to form The Delta Project. Playing together for 2 years now, The Delta Project hosts a blues jam in Memphis every Tuesday night, a great opportunity to get out and hear some live music.
James was kind enough to talk to us about music and life in Memphis.
Tell us a bit about the band. How did you get together?
Well, me and Scrap met one night at a local blues jam. He kinda came right up after a set and asked me to join his band on the spot. So we kept going for awhile ‘til that project fell apart. Shortly after that Kenny Allyn started playing bass for us and Brian Haislip started as our drummer. Everything just kinda fell together! We kinda all came together cause we were tired of the blues scene going on at the time. It’s just one of those things where everything clicked!
How did you pick the name The Delta Project?
I had the name in high school. Me and one of my buddies recorded an album when we were 16 or 17 and we just needed a name for it. It’s kinda always stuck in my head!
Who are your musical influences?
Mine kinda differ. My mom always had me listening to stuff like Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses when I was younger. I can remember when I was 12 or 13 me and my dad watching the Austin City Limits Stevie Ray Vaughan was on from 1983! That’s when the blues hit me! From then on it was Albert King, Freddie King, and Stevie Ray! I’m the youngest in the band so I’m sure all the other guys go further back than me!
How would you describe your performance to someone who has never seen it?
A hard hitting Delta Blues Band! Striped down with no frills!
Did you always know that you wanted to be in a band?
From about 12 or 13 I was mesmerised that four or five guys could put a sound out like that!
Do you remember the first song you performed as a band? What was it?
Probably our instrumental “Heather Way” cause we open just about every show with it!
How would you describe your music in 10 words or less?
Heart pumping Memphis Blues.
What types of themes does your music cover? Does any one theme recur more regularly than others?
There’s a little rock and roll to what we do but ninety eight percent is the blues!
What’s the secret to balancing your music with other obligations like a day job or family?
Just making the time! I’m married with a 3 year old! Kenny is married with a couple of daughters but they are a little older and out of the house. Scrapper and Brian just kinda go with the flow!