Singer- Song writer: Ben James
Autobiography
I live in Santa Cruz California with my wife Judy and my son Benjamin. I have been into music as long as I can remember. When Judy and I were first dating music was a major part of our connection. My grandfather introduced me to the harmonica around age 8. He was a guitar, mandolin and harmonica player intent on passing on some of his musical talent to his grandkids. Granddad played gigs with a band out of St. Petersburg, Florida called "The Rhythm Ramblers." They made the big time when they played on TV's nationally syndicated "Ted Mack Show." It was very cool seeing grandpa on the old Zenith black and white TV with The Ramblers cranking out their central Florida bluegrass tunes.
After being given several harmonicas by my grandpa through childhood, music took a strong hold on me. I picked up an old Gibson J-50 acoustic guitar for $175 at age 16, started learning rock, folk and blues songs and jamming every chance I could get. At 19 I hooked into gigs blowing harp for several projects like Blue Midnight and The John North Blues Band. I worked the circuit in south Florida playing gigs places like The Captain's Cabin, The Oyster Shanty and The Open Hearth. It was a great education in Chicago and delta blues and in the lessons of musical poverty!
Decades have passed since the days of The John North Blues Band. I've been involved in musical projects too numerous to list all of them here. In 1978 I helped build an 8-track recording studio at the DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix Arizona where I did my first multitrack studio work on a Tascam model 80-8, 1/2" open reel tape recorder. I moved to Silicon Valley in north central California in 1982. In the summer of 1995 I finally escaped the clutches of the Silicon Valley, and moved to Santa Cruz, California on the Monterey Bay. I released my first CD in late 1995 on independent label Starlight Records. The project was recorded and produced by grammy award winner Bill Hare at his first studio Astral Sounds in San Jose entitled "A Life Of Its Own". My sweetheart Judy sang harmony vocals on one of the tracks. At a gig a few weeks after the release I watched as she sold CDs to small crowd that gathered at the sales table and made a note right there to propose marriage! She said yes and we have been together ever since. My next CD "Second Life " was released May 1998. The project was blues and jazz based on most requested tunes from fans at gigs. It featured 11 well-known covers and one original jazz tune recorded at Bill Hare's new studio on Pro Tools.
Subsequently I've had great success with live releases including 2 CDs "Live At 1000 Trails" and "Caravan Oasis." Judy and I are blessed with Benjamin born Oct-23, 2000.  I put the music on the back burner for several years to switch gears into parenting.  Benjamin is nearly 18 now and recording music of his own and it's time to get back to my music....Currently working on forming a new band and recording a new CD with the project title of "To The Sky". Hoping to complete this one in early 2019. Check my Music page linked below for free access to much of my previous recordings and current demos.
 
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Copyright 2018 Ben James Yokel All rights reserved. 
Last revised: September 25, 2018