Nicholas St. James is a folk troubadour; an Americana throwback to Vaudeville, rather than the Dust Bowl. Blogger Brian Clifton writes, "Nicholas St. James blends together old and new to create a sound as distinct as his stage show. St. James mixes folk, blues, vaudevillian drama, and country together." Based in Lawrence, Kansas, by way of St. Louis, Missouri, Nicholas is an authentic Midwestern folk musician, mixing Bob Dylan's storytelling with Tom Waits' theatrical delivery.
Five years after his debut, two records, and 400+ live shows, Nicholas continues to influence with his signature sound and style. In 2017, Nicholas has had to redefine success numerous times after finding an expansive audience on YouTube, of all places. His love of performing is what drove him from his bedroom to the stage all those years ago, but his new worldwide audience online has begrudged him off the road, and allows him to create full-time from his studio. The consummate performer, Nicholas can still be found performing live, with the added benefit of now crafting fewer, more personal appearances. There is always another record in the works, with the next release planned for the end of the year.
Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Nicholas did not grow-up in a house of music. Nicholas does not have recordings of himself playing music as a child, or stories of his garage band sneaking into bars underage to perform - that's not a life he was ever introduced to. It wasn't until his late teens that he took-up the guitar on his own, and a year later was introduced to Bob Dylan by his godfather. However late in life his intro to artistry may have been, he has had a singular vision since that first day with the guitar, teaching himself Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heat," and never looking back.
In addition to performing alongside a number of larger, national-touring acts (Madison Ward and the Mama Bear, Split Lip Rayfield), Nicholas is recognized as a national touring artists in his own right. His songs and electric live show have opened many doors for the musician, including invites to perform at intimate house concerts, and more public events, like SXSW, Middle of the Map, Boulevardia and Folk Alliance International. He's been called a songwriter's songwriter - something that was settled when in 2015, he was chosen as one of only five songwriters to represent Kansas City for the global Acoustic Guitar Project. However, it's not always Nicholas' own music that brings positive attention his way.
In a display of true versatility, Nicholas has also written and arranged music for theatrical productions, and acted on screen when called to do so. Nicholas runs Yellow Ribbon Studio from his home, where he has recorded acclaimed, honest folk records for himself and other artists.
Simply, Nicholas St. James is a songwriter, and one hell of an entertainer; Timothy Finn of The Kansas City Star has recognized this, saying, "He has a voice you won’t forget: It’s muscular and percussive and well-suited to the songs he writes, which are steeped in the Delta blues and primal rock ’n’ roll." If you ever have a chance to see him perform live, take it.
"If Bob Dylan and Tom Waits were the same person, they'd write songs like Nicholas St. James. This guy can work a room as one man and a guitar better than many full bands. If you're a fan of performance, soul and genuine subject content, you'll love his set. You probably won't be dancing as much as you'll be captivated."
-Ed Danger, American Roots Magazine