a long strange trip its been for vocalist/songwriter Cee Cee James
recent release “LOW DOWN WHERE THE SNAKES CRAWL” is chock full of a
total and complete life shifting journey she began in 2001 as her numb
struggling existence got pulled into a vortex of change that lasted
Born as Christina James in the great fertile Northwest of Portland
Oregon among the tall fir trees, full rivers and beautiful moist green
landscape, Cee Cee's Mother was forced to move the family to California
when Cee Cee was five years old. At 12 years old she had put together
her first band and performed at the local church with a blond wig and
bright green eye shadow. Throughout the coming years she was in and out
of rock/blues, cover/original bands and formed her first original blues
band, Stone Blue in San Diego in the mid-90's. By the late 90's she
honed her song writing skills even more and began recording song demo's
in San Diego and Los Angeles and in late 1999 her first CD, "Spiritually
Wet," was released.
After a sad divorce in 2001, and the loss of her 2nd Partner to cancer
in early 2004, she bid her long time Southern California musicians
farewell, and by December had sold her house and was driving herself
back to Portland, OR to metaphorically be born again, stepping into her
true self as a woman and human being.
Feeling the continual push from her fans for a new CD, Cee Cee had
planned to immediately begin writing and recording when she got settled.
By April of 2005 she had put together a strong band of stellar Portland
musicians who very quickly began to get into some of the best blues
clubs Portland had to offer. However, the studio sessions for “LOW DOWN
WHERE THE SNAKES CRAWL” would continue to be out of Cee Cee’s reach
until late 2007 after yet another move even further North into
Washington State where the intense spinning vortex of change finally let
go of her life and “LOW DOWN WHERE THE SNAKES CRAWL” began to take
Like the green moist Northwest where she was born and now come home to,
“LOW DOWN WHERE THE SNAKES CRAWL” is rich and full of soul provoking
lyrics set into contemporary roots and blues based musical landscapes
inspired by Rob “Slideboy” Andrews, Cee Cee's songwriting partner and
husband. Rob "Slideboy" Andrews cut his musical path playing bass in the
Bay area for 35 years as a sideman for Filmore Slim, Luther Tucker and
many other deeply traditional blues lineups. He set the bass down when
he married Cee Cee and began playing rhythm and slide guitar where his
previously untapped natural songwriting skills began to come through.
Cee Cee’s production, arranging skills, and talents were honed and
sharpened in the writing and recording of her highly touted late 1999
pop/funk release “SPIRITUALLY WET,” where she worked side by side with
Los Angeles based producer Kaylene Peoples and mixing engineer Rich
Mouser. "SPIRITUALLY WET" won the 2000 Los Angeles R&B Independent
Artist of the Year Award and is full of contemplative lyrics set to
"feel good," track heavy, "ear candy" music that dives lyrically into
many of the subjects that Cee Cee will always feel passionate about.
Freedom to be who you are and letting other people be who they are
without judgments or condemnations; the benefits of positive and
negative experiences in life; challenging the rules and restrictions we
place upon our souls; the questions behind the hunger for love; natures
reciprocation in love and in our creative paths; how change in ones
personal life has a world wide affect; and how we really don't need to
worry about where we are going, as we are always guided to where we need
to be and go for our soul's growth.
As a result of the invaluable studio experience with "SPIRITUALLY WET,"
Cee Cee had a heavy hand in the writing, production and arranging on
“LOW DOWN WHERE THE SNAKES CRAWL," which has been described by Don
Wilcock, Editor In-Chief of BluesWax.com as "an undiscovered classic
with massive crossover potential." “LOW DOWN WHERE THE SNAKES CRAWL"
expresses that seven year chapter of change and includes a huge shift
away from the pop and funk she had been previously writing and recording
on “SPIRITUALLY WET.” Hiking on Cowels Mountain in Santee, CA outside of
San Diego in the late Spring of 2001, Cee Cee says "I heard Stevie Ray
Vaughan whispering to me from the Heavens... "Go back to your roots
girl.. go back to what you do best," which I intuitively knew was the
blues, low-down roots and soul." Beginning with the sad angst of lost
love in the first song and title track, to the final victorious tribute
about the man she lost to cancer in “Spirit of the Shaman,” "LOW DOWN
WHERE THE SNAKES CRAWL" weaves Cee Cee's stark, vulnerable, and
revealing lyrics, around her Cherokee roots and her life changing
relationship with the desert.
Cee Cee’s soul and artistic influences are all over the map. “Raw and
Real,” is her criteria. “Out of the box," as she calls it.
“Performances, music and lyrics that push the envelope of the soul
straight down into the gut of life.” Howling Wolf,
Big Mamma Thornton,
Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Stevie Ray Vaughan.; then dippin’ into the soul
of things - Mavis Staples, Ike and Tina Turner,
Bill Withers, Ray LaMontagne,
Chris Whitley; and of course the funk - James Brown, Prince
and everything in-between; with a recent discovery which she finds
'amazingly stellar,' JJ Grey and Mofro. Cee Cee feels them all and it’s
obvious in her ‘low down and gritty’ performances where as she says, “My
thing is... in all my writing, singing and performance is to make the
songs come alive for people. To open up the mind, heart and soul with
the fire of an intense gut wrenching performance full of vulnerability,
honesty and truth. What else am I up on that stage for?" Cee Cee does
just that and more, inspiring strong CD sales with her intense ‘take no
prisoner' performances where the audience climbs inside the deep ache
and gut in every note she sings and evokes on stage.
“LOW DOWN WHERE THE SNAKES CRAWL” is somewhat tame compared to the kind
of energy Cee Cee and her band bring to the live stages they play, but
the songs needed to be written after those seven years of intense change
in order for her artistic soul to embrace and express the shift and move
forward with the significance of those seven years defined by
WikiAnswers as "7 signifies divinely determined completeness." Kyle
Deibler, President of the Phoenix Blues Society, describes Cee Cee's
process in this 'completion' perfectly: “Cee Cee James writes songs from
a place of emotional honesty that few artists care to reveal. The result
is an intimate, sometimes guttural view of a woman who isn’t afraid to
face her demons and work out her life’s lessons. This is definitely an
excellent record from a female artist who isn’t afraid to bare her soul.
I applaud her for that.”
Cee Cee is truly hitting her stride with “LOW DOWN WHERE THE SNAKES
CRAWL” receiving more and more live performance requests, a continually
increasing fan base, CD sales, and radio play around the world with two
of the cuts from the CD, “Love Makes Change,” and “I’ll Ask the
Questions You Tell the Lies,” currently being played on XM 74 -
King's Bluesville which hit #10 and #7 on the XM 74 Charts. The CD held
steady at #1 on the Washington Roots Charts for NINE WEEKS and peaked at
#8 on the Overall Blues/Roots Charts and debuted at #15 on the March
Living Blues Charts! As well she was just honored with a 2010 Nomination
for Best Blues Vocalist by the Washington Blues Society and WON the 2010
Best Blues Songwriter Award!
On May 8th, 2010, Cee Cee released "SERIOUSLY RAW - Cee Cee James - LIVE
AT SUNBANKS," through FWG Records, specifically for her fans. "It was a
wild and unbelievably hot and sweaty day, but my band was tight and the
fans were off the hook! When I got the recording, I thought, 'this is
it!' 'Cause my Fans had been hounding me for a CD like this for years!
So I'm thrilled to release this CD for them." And as Al Lundy from KZUM
89.3 - Nebraska says... "Cee Cee James and her bands latest release was
recorded live and is APPROPRIATELY entitled "SERIOUSLY RAW." This CD
delivers 13 tracks of RAW EMOTION, with the RAW POWER of a diesel engine
rolling over the Snoqualme Pass!"
Along with her usual NW shows, Cee Cee will tour into Colorado in
September 2010, and in February 2011 she heads to France and Germany! So
check back for updates as new shows are being added and we hope to get
Cee Cee in your area soon!