Colin James – Open Road Tour
September 30, 2022, Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Walking out on stage that night in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1984, Stevie Ray Vaughan told Colin Munn, “What do you want me to call you if I get you up to play tonight … Colin Munn or Colin James?” Instinctively the 20-year old musician yelled “Colin James”. Later that night Vaughan brought him out for the encore. It’s been Colin James’ stage name ever since.
On this night, Colin James with his sonic blue Fender strat strapped on walked down the right side aisle from the back of the packed theatre, that “Voodoo Thing” blaring as he made his way up the stairs to the stage. The second track from Colin James’ self-titled debut album in 1988 still holds up today.
Growing up in Saskatchewan, Colin James has been playing in bands since he was 13. As a 16-year, his first blues band The Hoodoo Men played the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1981. This led to opening three shows for George Thorogood and one show for John Lee Hooker that year.
James flirted between several Canadian cities including Montreal where he lived for a year and a half before moving to Vancouver in 1984, and getting his big break. On June 25, 1984, Stevie Ray Vaughan was playing Edmonton when he fired the opening act. Vaughan’s promoter reached out to James, who was visiting Saskatchewan, asking him if he could be in Saskatoon the next day with a band to open for Vaughan. Colin broke a string, he broke two strings within about a song and one of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar techs handed him one of SRV’s guitars. James played
with SRV during the encore and again the next night. Colin James would go on and spend a couple of weeks on the road with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble. The same thing happened the following year. SRV was playing Edmonton and Calgary, when Colin got a call from the promoter. The rest is history.
After all these years, and with the release of his 20th album, “Open Road” in November 2021, Colin James is slowly making gains in America. The band finally got back on the road last spring, doing 19 dates as the opening act for blues great Buddy Guy, playing venues across the U.S., including the Ryman in Nashville, and the Moody Theater
22-year-old Texas blues-rock guitar sensation Ally Venable opened the night with a great set even if it was short at just under 30 minutes. She’ll be making an impact on blues and blues/rock music for years to come just like other great female blues musicians that include Sue Foley, Samantha Fish and Larkin Poe’s sister act Rebecca and Megan Lovell.
Down on the Bottom (Bob Dylan cover)
As the Crow Flies (Tony Joe White cover)
Forty-Four (Howlin’ Wolf cover)
Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me (Albert King cover)
Five Long Years
Man’s Gotta Be a Stone
Why’d You Lie? (Morgan Davis cover)
It Takes Time (Otis Rush cover)
That’s Why I’m Crying (Magic Sam)
Change It (Doyle Bramhall, covered by Stevie Ray Vaughan)
Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac cover)
It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Bob Dylan cover)
Stones in My Passway (Robert Johnson cover)
Just Came Back
Keep On Loving Me, Baby (Otis Rush cover)
Into the Mystic (Van Morrison cover)
Going Down (Freddie King cover) (with Ally Venable)
Breaking Up The House (Tiny Bradshaw cover)
(Click on images to enlarge)
Ally Venable Band
Use Me (Bill Withers cover)
Road to Nowhere
Lenny (Stevie Ray Vaughan cover)
(Click on images to enlarge)