Colin James

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Colin James
Colin James in 2009
Colin James in 2009
Background information
Birth nameColin James Munn
Born (1964-08-17) August 17, 1964 (age 58)
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
GenresRock, blues, jump blues
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years active1986–present

Colin James (born Colin James Munn,[1] August 17, 1964) is a Canadian rock and blues singer and songwriter.


Early years[edit]

James was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.[1] He got his break opening for Stevie Ray Vaughan in Regina in 1984. When the scheduled opening act did not show, he only had a few hours' notice to put together a set of blues standards with members from the local Regina band "Flying Colours". Vaughan invited James to perform with him during the encore, and then join his tour as a permanent opening act. He and his band The Hoodoo Men[1] opened for Vaughan for several tour dates in the United States. According to legend, Vaughan himself suggested the stage name "Colin James", because when announced over arena P.A. systems, "Munn" sounded like "Mud".[2][3] James also played guitar on Richard Marx's song "Thunder and Lightning".[4]

Rock, swing and blues career[edit]

In 1988, following his association with Vaughan, James released his self-titled debut album,[1] which yielded several international hit singles, as did the follow up Sudden Stop.[1] He presaged the mid-1990s swing music revival with his Colin James and the Little Big Band project, which released a successful first CD in 1993,[1] with a follow-up gold record in 1998,[5] a third disc 2006, and a Christmas album in 2007.

James's worldwide popularity waned somewhat in the late 1990s, but he continued to release albums in rock, blues, and acoustic styles. In 2005, he gave a command performance for Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to his home province of Saskatchewan.[6]

James' backing band frequently includes members of the Vancouver-based band Odds, and he has co-written songs with Odds singer-guitarist Craig Northey. In February 2005, James guest-starred in an episode of the television program Corner Gas, a Canadian sitcom based in rural Saskatchewan.

In 2007, James' album Limelight received a Gold record for sales in Canada. In January 2008, James received three Toronto Blues Society Maple Blues Awards: "Entertainer of the Year", "Electric Act of the Year" and "Recording of the Year" for Colin James & The Little Big Band 3.[7]

In 2009, James recorded the album Rooftops and Satellites with, among others, former Junkhouse front man Tom Wilson. The album was co-produced, engineered and mixed by Mike Fraser, at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver.[8]

James' 2016 album Blue Highways spent 10 weeks at No.1 on the Roots Music Report's Blues Chart following its debut, and appeared in Living Blues magazine's Top 50 albums of that year. Its follow-up, Miles To Go, was released in September 2018, to equal acclaim entering the top 10 blues charts in Canada, USA, UK and Australia.

Personal life[edit]

James has been married to his wife Heather since 1989. They have two grown children and live in suburban Vancouver.[9]


Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Then Again... (1995)
  • Take It From The Top: The Best Of Colin James (2011)

Guest appearances[edit]


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
US Main. Rock
1986 "Five Long Years" (released by Bumstead Records) Colin James
1988 "Voodoo Thing" 19 30
1989 "Dream of Satin" 49
"Chicks 'n Cars (And the Third World War)" 51
"Five Long Years" (released by Virgin Records)
"Why'd You Lie"
"Back in My Arms Again" 80 American Boyfriends (soundtrack)
1990 "Just Came Back" 5 7 Sudden Stop
"Keep On Loving Me Baby" 35 21
"If You Lean on Me" 74
"T for Trouble"
"Give It Up" (with Bonnie Raitt) 59
1992 "Love Thang" Colin James and the Little Big Band
1993 "Cadillac Baby" 18
1994 "Surely (I Love You)" 19
"Breakin' Up the House" 29
"No More Doggin'" 57
1995 "Stay" 26 Then Again...
"Freedom" 18 Bad Habits
"Saviour" 8
1996 "Real Stuff" 26
1998 "Let's Shout (Baby Work Out)" 36 Colin James and the Little Big Band II
"C'mon with the C'mon"
2000 "Hide" Fuse
"Getting Higher"
2003 "I'm Losing You" Traveler
"Make a Mistake"
2004 "Know How to Love You"
2005 "Far Away Like a Radio" Limelight
"Better Way to Heaven"
2006 "Into the Mystic"
"If You Need Me" Colin James & The Little Big Band 3
2009 "Man's Gotta Be a Stone" Rooftops and Satellites
"Lost Again"
2010 "Johnny Coolman"
2011 "It's Gonna Be Alright" Take It From The Top: The Best Of Colin James
2012 "Stone Faith" Fifteen
"I Need You Bad"
2015 "Just a Little Love" Hearts On Fire
2016 "Going Down" Blue Highways
"Riding in the Moonlight"
2018 "40 Light Years" Miles to Go
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.

Television appearance[edit]

James made a cameo in the Canadian television program Corner Gas, Season 2, episode 15, which was originally broadcast on February 21, 2005.[12]

Juno Awards[edit]

James has been nominated for 17[13] Juno Awards, winning seven of them.[14]



  • 1989 – "Canadian Entertainer of the Year"
  • 1991 – "Canadian Entertainer of the Year"
  • 1992 – "Canadian Entertainer of the Year"
  • 1994 – "Best Blues/Gospel Album" for Colin James and The Little Big Band
  • 1995 – "Male Vocalist of the Year"
  • 1996 – "Best Video" for "Freedom"
  • 1998 – "Best Male Vocalist"
  • 1999 – "Best Blues Album for Colin James and The Little Big Band II
  • 2007 – "Blues Album of the Year" for Colin James and The Little Big Band III
  • 2013 – "Blues Album of the Year" for "Fifteen"
  • 2017 – "Blues Album of the Year" for "Blue Highways"

Maple Blues Awards[edit]

Colin James has been nominated for, and won, 20 Maple Blues Awards, between 1997 and 2018

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who's Who of Blues (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 195/6. ISBN 0-85112-673-1.
  2. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (March 15, 2013). "Colin James: Blazing his own path for 25 years". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  3. ^ "Colin James (December 2016)". FabricationsHQ – Putting the Words to the Music. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  4. ^ Marx, Richard. "Richard Marx - Thunder and Lightning". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved August 7, 2021.
  5. ^ Bettsy Powell (January 16, 1999). There's no place like home. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. and 58. ISSN 0006-2510.
  6. ^ "Canadian Press: Saskatchewan Parties with the Royals". Joni Mitchell Library. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  7. ^ "2007 Maple Blues Awards Winners". Archived from the original on July 19, 2009. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
  8. ^ "Home". Colin James. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Renshaw, Nikki. "Cool Yule with Colin James". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  10. ^ Peak positions for singles in Canada:
  11. ^ "Colin James". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  12. ^ "Colin James in Corner Gas". January 26, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2017.[dead YouTube link]
  13. ^ "Search Awards | The JUNO Awards". The JUNO Awards. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  14. ^ "Juno Awards/Canadian Music Hall of Fame winner and nominations". Retrieved November 26, 2006.
  15. ^ "You oughta Juno: What happened to those artists voted most likely to succeed? Part 2 — 1986 – 1999". National Post, David Berry and Rebecca Tucker | March 14, 2015

External links[edit]