James Nash is no stranger to musical diversity. As at home with Charlie Parker and Bill Monroe as he is with Django Reinhardt and Jimi Hendrix, the accomplished guitarist embraces the potential challenges of playing multiple genres with both joy and aplomb.
Nash’s broad vocabulary, both as scholar and stylist, has led to a genre-bending approach that has served him well for a decade as a lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter for the eclectic and virtuosic Americana ensemble, The Waybacks. Similarly, they make him a fitting helmsman for both the electric rock ‘n soul grooves of The Nomads and the daredevil acoustic escapades of The NashVillains.
James’ musical breadth is readily matched by his astonishing facility as a player and dynamism as a performer, leading reviewers to describe him as “graceful but fiery… elegant and colorful… rampantly eclectic” (Guitar Player), and praise his “near-ideal balance of irreverence, chops, discipline, and originality” (Chicago Tribune). Heralded byAcoustic Guitar as a “revered new-acoustician,” he approaches the flat-
top steel-string guitar with both the subtleties and bravado of a rock guitarist. His spirited improvisational flights, whether on his Santa Cruz acoustic or electric Fender Stratocaster, are dazzling to behold, a deft combination of innate musicality and jaw-dropping technique.
Raised in Nashville, his musical career began to take shape when he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1991 to attend Stanford University, where he earned a BS from their Engineering School while spending his nights gigging in local clubs and making the rounds cutting tracks in legendary rooms like Fantasy Studios and Coast Recorders.
Along that musical path, James has recorded a dozen albums and performed at countless festivals and venues across the country, serving as bandleader for ensembles with the likes of everyone from Elvis Costello to Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck to Bob Weir, Chris Thile and Jerry Douglas to Darol Anger and Mike Marshall.
Wedding his musical and tech-savvy sides, he worked with the founders of Pandora to create the Music Genome Project. He also served as co-curator of TEDxAlcatraz 2010 and was a featured performer of the 2011 TEDx Global Music Project, offshoots of the renowned TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference.
James has been interviewed, featured, and had his solos transcribed in numerous magazines, Wired, Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar,Flatpicking, and Dirty Linen among them. His music has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Folk Alley and he is a contributing writer and reviewer for Guitar Player. His forthcoming instructional DVD, “Acoustic Guitar on the Edge,” evidences both the technically disciplined and free spirited player he has become.