James Gordon has had a remarkably diverse 40-year career in the Canadian entertainment business. As a solo singer-songwriter and with the ground-breaking trio Tamarack, he has released over forty albums and has toured relentlessly around the world. Gordon has written for symphony orchestras, musical theatre and dance works, film scores, and for more than ten years was heard on CBC radio as songwriter-in-residence for the Basic Black’ and ‘Ontario Morning’ programs.
His song Mining For Gold was featured in the John Sayles film ‘Silver City’, and was included on the classic Cowboy Junkies album ‘The Trinity Sessions’. Gordon’s classic ‘Frobisher Bay’ has been recorded by more than 100 different acts world-wide, has become a standard in choirs everywhere, and is in ‘Rise Again’, the sequel to the legendary ‘Rise Up Singing’ songbook. Well known for his songs about social justice, heritage and environmental issues, he toured for two years with his hugely successful political theatre piece “James Gordon’s Emergency Climate Musical”. The full-length folk-opera ‘Hardscrabble Road’ debuted live in the fall of 2003 and proved to be one of his most ambitious works. Gordon has produced CDs for many Canadian folk artists, and his popular ‘Rhyme Capsules’ songwriting-in-the-schools project (through which he has facilitated over 1500 songwriting workshops) has resulted in over two dozen CDs of songs by young composers. He has recently toured in Great Britain, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, and all across North America. He’s often touring as James Gordon & Sons with his musician sons Evan and Geordie.
In 2021 James released “When I Stayed Home” on Pipe Street Records. Full of timely material, this album speaks to the experience of covid, the income gap, climate change, and residential schools amongst many themes explored.
2021 also marked the debut of his unique hybrid literary work: It’s a novel with 36 songs spread throughout the book that amplify the plot. “The Ark Of The Oven Mitt” is an audio book and a ‘hard copy’ book.
In 2009 BerLen Music published ‘The Pipe Street Songbook’, an anthology of his 50 most loved songs. Between tours, James is a record producer, playwright, community activist, Guelph City Councillor, and theatre director.