James Downham and Durham County Band on Canadian Coast to Coast with Cal Gratton

This week, it’s all about new music by both James Downham and Durham County Band on Canadian Coast to Coast with Cal Gratton.

First up, it’s DCB’s Pete Wheeler hanging out with Cal on Wednesday, December 5th. Pete and Cal will be talking about the band’s new single, “Don’t Turn Away”, about the band’s journey so far, and what’s to come in the months ahead.

Then, on Thursday, December 6th, James joins Cal to talk about what’s happening with his solo music. Cal will spin the new single, “Baby, Are You Ready?”

It’s always an honour to chat with Cal, particularly considering the amazing calibre of guests he regularly has on the show. The show runs weekdays at 1pm MT/CT on 105 CJVR FM in Melfort, SK and on CIXM FM in Whitecourt, AB.

You can also catch the interviews posted on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/cal-gratton-1

New James Downham Single “Baby, Are You Ready?” drops on Monday, October 22nd

James Downham’s brand new single, “Baby, Are You Ready?” will be released coast-to-coast on country radio on Monday, October 22nd. This is Downham’s first wide release to country radio. His two previous radio singles “Fly Away” and “Don’t Talk To Girls” were primarily released to AC radio, though “Don’t Talk To Girls” was simultaneously released to some key country markets.

The tune was penned by fellow Durham County Band member, Pete Wheeler. “When we originally recorded the song, we intended to release it as a DCB song,” recalls Wheeler. “But when James laid his vocals down, we knew he had just done something special. He just owned it. Right then, I told him, that’s gotta be a James Downham single. He agreed, and here we are.”

The track was recorded at Wheeler’s Sonica Disturbia studios in his hometown of Fergus, ON and was mastered at Lacquer Channel Studios by Phil Demetro.

New Durham County Band Single “Don’t Turn Away” Available Now!

The next Durham County Band single “Don’t Turn Away” is available now!  Fans of the band can purchase the single directly from the band’s website!

Following the incredibly successful first release “Back Roads,” this new single serves up another helping of the band’s signature harmonies, intricate guitar licks, and catchy choruses.

“We’re so excited about this next single,” says Pete Wheeler.  “We field-tested this song during our radio tour this summer, and the feedback on this tune was overwhelmingly positive.  It was a natural follow-up.”

Featuring the main vocals of Kip Walker, this song showcases the band’s diversity, not only in style but also in lead singers.

“I’m really proud of this song,” Walker states, interviewed by telephone from the band’s studio.  “It’s a story of perseverance, of dreaming big and taking chances, which is something people can relate to, no matter their walk of life.  And, for the band, it celebrates our dexterity as writers and performers.”

Released to radio on October 15, 2018, “Don’t Turn Away” is also available for purchase from the band’s website at www.durhamcountyband.com.  Check it out now!

Durham County Band Releases First Single, “Back Roads”!

DCB made a guest appearance at the May 23rd Revival House Show in Stratford to showcase some of their new material.

On May 22, 2018, the Durham County Band released their first official single to radio.  The lead-off track from their upcoming EP is a rocking powerhouse called “Back Roads.”

Pete “Hawaii” Wheeler, the lead singer and lead guitar player on the track, is as excited as any of the DCB members.

“We’re just really proud of this song, and we’re so stoked that this single is coming out right at the beginning of summer time,” Wheeler comments from the band’s studio.  “Like so many of our songs, it’s that tasty balance of country rock, vocal harmonies, and great guitar hooks.  I think people will really take to this one.”

DCB’s Kip Walker working the microphone.

A party anthem set in the dusty parking lots and country lanes, “Back Roads” marks the first wide release of any Durham County Band material on the radio.  All you Durham County Bandits out there, be sure to check out the new track, available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and Google!

Durham County Band Releases Valentine’s Day Video!

At nine in the morning, on January 24, 2018, Durham County Band released their “Valentine’s Day “ video into the world via their YouTube Channel and waited for the Internet to explode.

One week before the official release, the band laughed at the thought of this song beaming into the eyes and ears of people around the world.

“It’s hard not to be excited about it,” said Kip Walker, lead singer of this particular Durham County Band track.  “We’ve had this wonderful, funny, and relatable song kicking around for so many years and finally, people are going to be able to hear it.”

“Obviously, we’re crazy excited about releasing it, not just to radio but also in video form,” added Pete “Hawaii” Wheeler, studio guru and guiding force of the Durham County Band.  “We laugh and talk about how amazing it would be to have people singing this anthem around the world.  It’s really a universal feeling, something we believe people will relate to.

To get the story of Valentine’s Day, the song, you have to go back many years.  Kip recalled the inspiration for the song with a sly smile.

“Using this chorus melody that James had, I actually wrote this song with a friend of mine, Buddy Bandit. We were just sitting around, complaining about how terrible Valentine’s Day can be when you’re alone.  Like everyone else is super stoked, and you’re just sitting around eating soggy fish fingers.”

Soggy fish fingers?

James Downham burst into a belly laugh. “The Bandit may have been eating soggy fish fingers himself on that particular Valentine’s Day when the song was written. So sad.  So gross!”

Leading up to Valentine’s Day 2018, however, the mood was decidedly more upbeat.

Bronson Brown, bass player and director of the video, related his eagerness to get the song out there and let the public decide how big it could get.  “It’s silly to hope for something to go viral, with so many factors at play.  But how crazy would that be?  Crazier things have happened.”

 He shrugged, looking at the rest of the band.

“Once it’s released, we’ll have three weeks until Valentine’s Day.  We just get to sit back and watch what happens.”

Follow the fate of Valentine’s Day via The Durham County Band website, FaceBook page, and YouTube channel.

New Year, New Project… The Durham County Band is Born!

Well, we’re barely into 2018 and I can hardly contain my excitement about what the year might hold!

Last summer, a group of friends gathered in rural South Western Ontario. A campfire was burning (hint: forget about the yellow birch… just move on to more cooperative woods), some guitars were being strummed, some songs were bing sung, and probably a few drinks were enjoyed, too.

We talked about friendship. We talked about love. We talked about joy. And we talked a fair bit about pain and regret.

We talked about how music can capture the essence of these in ourselves, and convey it in a way that those around us can share in that feeling – something, perhaps, beyond simple comprehension. And we talked about how music is such a big part of who we are as individuals, and how it has supported and defined our friendships with each other.

And we talked about how little time we seem to have in our busy lives, and how much of it we contribute to mundane pursuits that do little to expand our joy, express our love, and grow our friendships. As you get older, you start to think a bit differently about your time, and what you do with it. You start to take stock of how you’re spending it, on what, and what you get out of it in return.

We decided that we wanted to spend more of our time doing what we love and what brings us joy.  Essentially, we decided that we have no time for regrets.

And so, a new musical venture was born – the Durham County Band! For those of you who’ve been following my own musical journey, this group of friends is a familiar bunch. Mark Smith and Emmanuel Brown can be heard on my recordings, and share the stage with me in the James Downham band. Peter Boshart is no stranger to my music, as my producer extraordinaire.

Together we’ve decided to expand the scope of what we can do together. Durham County Band, named after the rural place where friends first gathered and hatched a plan, is country rock, Canadiana, no holds barred rollicking fun. And we’re off to a quick start. We’re about half-way through recording our debut album, and we’ve just sent out irst single, Valentine’s Day, to wide release on Canadian radio.

Who knows where DCB will take us, and what 2018 has in store. But this group of friends is going to have a blast finding out…

James Downham joins the Country Music Association of Ontario

Well, I finally did it. I am now a proud member of the Country Music Association of Ontario. This is something I’ve thought about for a long time. I know many of you will think this was a no-brainer, but I can tell you I wasn’t sure, which is why it took so long to do.

You see, I just didn’t think I was a country singer, and I didn’t really think my music was country music. However, it seems that the rest of the world disagrees.

When I released “Don’t Talk to Girls” to radio last year, we pitched to Adult Contemporary radiostations. AC Radio, as it’s known, is primarily pop, and some light rock. Think Bieber, Beyonce, and the Chainsmokers. The rest of the guys in my band immediately asked” You’re not releasing to Country?” Well, no… we’re a rock band, I said. Not so fast. While a few stations picked up the song, the predominant feedback was “Try country radio – you’ll do much better over there.”

I suppose I should have seen that coming. I mean, when I talk to folks after a show, people regularly comment that they thought we were great, and they’re big fans of country music, or that they really like us even though they don’t usually like country. Really, i thought? But we don’t have fiddles or steel – we’re a rock band!!  But then again, one instrument that might be hard to disguise is my voice. And it’s hard to shake off 12 years of singing in a Tim McGraw tribute act.

I really wrestled with my identify as a singer a songwriter for a long time. And the truth is (as the song goes) I’m a little bit country, and I’m a little bit rock ‘n roll. And I’m good with that!

And what CMA Ontario represents to me, more than anything, is an active community of music professionals supporting one another, celebrating one another, and encouraging one another. There’s no other genre in the music world, from my perspective, that does this as well as country music.

Even if my music isn’t the typical country radio fare, I’m hoping that the barn is big, and that there’s room for all sorts – including me. – James

 

IndieWeek Canada 2017 Confirmed!

I’m really pleased to announce that I’ll be joining the band to showcase at IndieWeek Canada 2017 this November in Toronto. The festival runs November 7-12 and the showdate/time has not yet been confirmed. I’ll post as soon as I know what we’re doing for sure.

We’ll have a few new ones to unveil at the show – so stay tuned!