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James Armstrong (born April 22, 1957, Los Angeles, California, United States) is an American soul blues and electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He has released three albums to date on HighTone Records. His songs have been used in the soundtrack of three films; Speechless, Hear No Evil, and The Florentine.
Armstrong's father was a jazz guitarist and his mother a blues singer. Having learned the guitar at a young age, Armstrong formed his first band at school, and was touring the United States in his late teens. Inspired by Albert King and Robert Cray, his musical education included backing musicians such as Albert Collins, Big Joe Turner and Smokey Wilson. Armstrong relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and, in 1995, released his debut album, Sleeping with a Stranger, on HighTone.
However, in April 1997, Armstrong was almost stabbed to death by an intruder at his home. The shoulder injury necessitated months of rehabilitation, which still left Armstrong with limited guitar playing ability in his left hand. He adjusted his playing style, hired a lead guitar player, and realised that playing slide guitar helped to slowly recover his dexterity. His second, introspective, album, Dark Night, was issued in 1998. It incorporated Joe Louis Walker and Doug Macleod playing lead guitar on a couple of the songs. The album track, "Bank of Love", was used in the films Hear No Evil and The Florentine.
Armstrong recommenced live performances on the blues festival circuit, with a noteworthy appearance at the 1999 Pocono Blues Festival in Pennsylvania. In early 2000, Armstrong returned to the recording studio to work on his next album, Got It Goin' On. He was aided in the project by utilising Walker's rhythm section, plus a guest appearance from the keyboardist Jim Pugh. In 2001, Armstrong's song "Pennies and Picks" from Got It Goin' On, earned him a W.C. Handy Award nomination for 'Song of the Year'. Armstrong himself was nominated for 'Contemporary Male Blues Guitarist of the Year'. "2 Sides," another song from Got It Goin' On was included in the film soundtrack for Speechless.
Armstrong's forthcoming fourth album is scheduled to include a tribute to an old bluesman, who assisted Armstrong in his early days.
Source: Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)