“A remarkable Canadian performer. His body of work is truly original” – Penguin Eggs
In his forty-year career as a solo singer-songwriter and with the ground-breaking trio Tamarack, James Gordon has released forty albums and toured relentlessly around the world. He has penned over 1500 songs (Frobisher Bay, Mining for Gold, Looking for Livingstone), some of which have been famously played by Cowboy Junkies, James Keelaghan, Miranda Mulholland, and international choirs. In addition to compositions for symphony orchestras, musical theatre, dance, and film scores, James was heard on CBC radio for over ten years as songwriter-in-residence for the Basic Black and Ontario Morning programs. James appears solo or with a trio, and is always happy to do a songwriting workshop in conjunction with his appearances.
You can find a full bio here.
“When I Stayed Home” – new album 2021
on Pipe Street Records
James Gordon, like most of us, had his life radically disrupted by the pandemic.
A legendary ‘gig pig’, he’s toured relentlessly since he was 20 years old, which wasn’t exactly yesterday.
Stuck at home, he sulked for a while then got busy. And boy was he busy.
From his tiny studio he finished a novel that is accompanied by a 36-song recording; he did a virtual tour of his one-man show “James Gordon’s Emergency Climate Musical”; he kicked cancer’s butt, dealt with the overwhelm of his side hustle as a Guelph city councillor during Covid, and perhaps most significantly, wrote and recorded his 40th album, called, appropriately, “When I Stayed Home”.
Unable to bring any of his ‘stable’ of top Canadian talent into the studio, Gordon buckled down and played all the instruments himself, including acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, piano, bass, accordion, (the loneliest of instruments), harmonica, tin whistle, ukulele, and percussion. He made two brief exceptions to his “all by myself rule” with stellar cameos from vocalist Tannis Slimmon and clarinetist John David Williams.
The ‘stay at home’ orders allowed Gordon to challenge himself lyrically and musically, and we think you’ll appreciate the results. The songs are reflective, the sound intimate and warm; stripped down. Just as the album was ready for release, he popped another song into the mix, a timely commentary on the shocking news around residential schools. That late arrival, “We’ll Bring You Home” is the first single on a project that covers many topics including climate change, the income gap, racism, empathy, social justice, our natural environment, and ‘love in a challenging time’. James says these songs demanded to be written, and he’s excited about sharing them with the opening-up world.
Check out the first singles, “The Great Divide” https://youtu.be/T9rnrRIkqa8 and
“We’ll Bring You Home”- https://youtu.be/5D4cAXqSjZg
“Ark of The Oven Mitt” – new ‘musical novel’ 2021
A Reporter for a Canadian music magazine is asked to do a ‘where-are-they-now’ story about ‘Miles and Myles’, a popular band in the ‘80s.
Maddie Myles, the charismatic lead singer, leaves her partner and the band at the height of its fame, and disappears. Her ex, Miles Gerber, has been touring the bar circuit for 20 years with his own group “Miles Gerber and The Shit Disturbers”. As the audience declines, Miles says each night that they are ‘searching for the end of the music business’. Miles is unwilling to be interviewed, so the reporter gives an old tape recorder to the group’s drummer, who gives us a rolling report on the slow decline of the band, and the music business in general.
One day, in their beat-up touring van, they pick up a dynamic young woman at the side of the road, who starts them on a new journey: not an ending, but a new direction that leads to a revival, and lots of self-discovery for Miles. Along the way they learn the value of community, and the power of stories. In Part Two they accidentally find themselves at the center of an embryonic ‘utopian colony’ with a festival atmosphere, which is where the unusual title of the book comes from. Miles writes songs along the way that tell the story of the challenges of a changing world, compelling tales of those who have fallen in between the cracks of a system that has left them behind.
With humour, and 36 original songs, we laugh, learn, and love along with a rag-tag bunch of characters who find resolution and fulfillment after years of drifting along an endless highway.
- “This fine Canadian songwriter is still on a roll. A mature, astute observer of the human heart in all its conditions. Unhurried personal narratives that anyone can share- songwriting on a conversational scale with universal relevance.” – Rock And Reel Review
- “A confident artist with important things on his mind.” – Toronto Star
- “Rootsy sound, strong songs, with a poet’s eye for telling details and a picket-line singer’s passion.” – Sing Out Magazine
- “Der Kanadier James Gordon ist so etwas wie die graue Eminenz der kanadischen Songwriter-Szene.” (“James Gordon is the Eminem of the Canadian Songwriter scene”) – A Fan in Germany
Photo by Trina Koster
Photo by Trina Koster
Photo by Trina Koster
- Wrote Frobisher Bay, which has been covered by over one hundred artists world-wide and many choirs.
- Mining for Gold was included in the John Sayles film Silver City and was recorded by Cowboy Junkies on their breakout album The Trinity Session.
- Released children’s music album No Grownups Allowed, which has sold 50,000 copies and counting.
- Well known for his songs about social justice, heritage and environmental issues, he toured for two years with his hugely successful political theatre piece Stephen Harper: The Musical. (It worked. You’re welcome.)
- Gordon has produced albums for many Canadian folk artists, and his popular Rhyme Capsules songwriting-in-the-schools project has resulted in over two dozen recorded collections of songs by young composers.
- Created the full-length folk opera Hardscrabble Road which debuted live in the fall of 2003.
- Completed his first novel “Ark Of The Oven Mitt”, published by Pipe Street Publishing, in 2021
- His newest album “When I Stayed Home” was named #1 in a top ten list from Australia for Green Left Magazine of “Ten New Albums that Protest Against Climate Change” coming in just ahead of Barnaked Ladies and Jackson Browne
For booking or press inquiries,