James O'Halloran is an award-winning songwriter, a bluesman, a flamenco guitarist and sought after educator who was born on New Year's Day in London, England. He spent his first years in Spain, hearing the sound of the guitar everywhere, and at age ten, after a grade school visit by Johnnny Cash, a Muddy Waters concert and a few Beatles records, he chose the path of a musician. His work has been featured in print and on television and radio broadcasts in the United States and Europe. He has performed over 1,500 concerts in Canada, the United States, England, Spain, Germany, Holland, and Russia. James is on the faculty of the Flynn Performing Arts Center and has been a guest presenter at universities, colleges, summer camps and public schools throughout the US. He is an artist-in-residence at the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation in Arizona, and the founding creator of the Songcatcher Program. This program ingeniously uses songwriting to improve reading comprehension and the writing abilities of Native American youth. The program was cited in a Carnegie-Melon report as increasing attendance and student engagement, and has gained the support and praise of legendary activist, Academy Award winner, and musician, Buffy Sainte-Marie who says: "I love your project!" His teaching has been said to have "the treasured gift of communicating in both words and music". A dedicated, patient, professional, and passionate educator, James has also written a set of guitar manuals for teachers and students soon to be published. James knows life and people; a former volunteer fire fighter, paperboy and after school program director, he was selected by Walt Disney World to lead the Vermont delegation of kids to Mickey Mouse's 65th birthday party in 1995. James was able to study flamenco in Spain, after winning a scholarship to the Cristina Heeren Foundation for Flamenco Arts in Seville, working under maestro Miguel Angel Cortes. Upon his return, he studied composition at the University of Vermont with Dr. T.L. Read and Dr. Julius Williams, as well as classical guitar with Segovia disciple Thomas Geoghan. In addition, he has also studied at the American Institute of Guitar with Sabicas/Escuadaro protégé Dennis Koster and participated in master classes with the Assad Brothers, Nino de Pura, Manolo Soler and Benjamin Verdery. His playing has been described as "containing emotion and substance...capable of tenderness and artistry...capturing the mood of each piece perfectly." An accomplished solo guitarist, his concert repertoire is drawn from flamenco, classical, Latin American and jazz masterworks. In compliment to composing and the Spanish guitar, James is a soulful bluesman and brilliant songwriter. His newest CD, "The Leveling" includes performances by James Taylor's violinist Andrea Zonn, harmonica and pedal steel Jim Hoke, pianist Tom Cleary, vocalist Melissa Cusick, guitarist Maureen O'Connor, Dave Francis playing upright bass, and the powerhouse singer Amber deLaurentis playing B3 organ. He has opened for and performed with blues legends Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, James Cotton, Big Joe Burrell, Bo Diddley, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Chris Duarte and Ronnie Earl. He has performed at jazz festivals in the US and Russia and cut his teeth with jam rock superstars Phish and many others on the Vermont scene. As a teenager, he studied with jazz composer/pianist Andy Shapiro and jazz-blues guitarist Paul Asbell. A member of the Nashville Association of Songwriters, he has recorded and released eight original, full-length CDs and has many guest appearances on other CDs. James showed a gift for writing at the early age of six when his song "Bruce the Moose" was performed on WGBH Boston Public Television's "Zoom". His music has been include on CD compilations and called by The Seven Days newspaper "pure unadulterated Americana" and "a class act from start to finish...with superb imagery". An A&R company TAXI representative had this to say "I found myself getting lost in the performance right from the top...I love the lyrical imagery...flows beautifully...very memorable, very strong emotional feeling...superb." James travels extensively; performing, teaching and writing all the while.
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