James’ Grandfather was a multi-instrumentalist musician and from a young age James heard a steady stream of country, blues and jazz music. After being given a guitar from a relative, he started learning simple chords and songs. Fascinated by the versatility of artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, James set about discovering their respective influences and was soon hearing artists like Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed and The Everly Brothers, as well as traditional folk and blues music, which all had a lasting impression.
Inspired by these new musical discoveries James started regularly playing and singing in bands during his late teens. Often these bands played anything from garage rock to country, soul and blues – but soon enough James started seeking a different kind of creative outlet and a way to blend his musical influences in a more seamless way. He started writing his own songs to help realize this vision and in late 2012 James recorded his debut album.
This self-titled album was released in 2013 and won Thomson and his song writing high praise, with The Sydney Morning Herald calling it ‘something special’. Following the success of his debut album and the tour that accompanied its release, James took three months off to write and travel in the US in late 2103. The majority of James’s second album ‘Cold Moon’ was written on this trip and once back in Australia he set to recording the new songs. Cold Moon was released mid 2015 and immediately caught the attention of radio, publications and blogs becoming something of an underground sensation both in Australia and abroad. ‘Cold Moon’ rounded out the year by appearing on numerous ‘Best of 2015’ lists.
Touring ‘Cold Moon’ James put together three of the finest musicians to form ‘The Strange Pilgrims’ featuring Marty Burke on Guitar, Craig Rattray on Bass and Tim Burns on Drums. The Strange Pilgrims are a sympathetic and tasteful group of players who give Thomson the space and textural depth to fully realize his songs. Their shows have been captivating audiences all over Australia and since have been invited to play some of the best festivals Aus has to offer such as Dashville Skyline, Gumball and Out on The Weekend, and most recently were invited to play The 2017 Miri Country Music Festival in Malaysia.
James Thomson and The Strange Pilgrims feel very honored to be playing The Miri Country Music Festival and look forward to meeting the locals and making lots of new country music loving friends.