Jeau James makes classic music for the contemporary world, blurring the lines between electric blues, rock & roll, blistering soul, and funk.

Years before moving to his adopted hometown of Los Angeles,

James grew up on the move, shuffling between New Mexico, Kentucky, and Chicago while still a child. "My father was in the Air Force, so we kind of got around," he explains. Along the way, he began listening to music that was as diverse as his travels. After cutting his teeth in New York City during early adulthood, James relocated to L.A., bringing his own musical mix — a combination of Isley Brothers-inspired funk, gospel, guitar grit, and the open-minded optimism of late-1960s rock — with him. 

From the start, James' songs bridged the gap between rock & roll's golden years and the present day, so it made sense that two of his earliest champions were legends who'd both shaped mainstream music during previous decades. "Jeau's songs, vocals, and brilliant guitar playing are so unique, passionate, and authentic," says Kenny Aranoff, who began working with James during those early years in Los Angeles.  Another supporter was the late Billy Preston, a keyboard-playing virtuoso who'd toured with Little Richard, recorded with The Beatles, and collaborated with The Rolling Stones. Preston became a personal mentor, backing up James during a handful of LA shows and even hiring him to play bass on one of Preston's final recordings.  

Before Jeau James could truly deliver his own version of the blues with Fated, though, he had to livethe blues. Financial issues haunted him for years, and his own personal demons — "a fear of either failure or success," he says — prevented him from releasing the music he'd been recording with Corne and Aranoff at Mad Dog Studios. Things became even more dire when doctors diagnosed him with a serious heart condition. "I had a situation with my aorta," he clarifies, "and I had to undergo an operation. I survived it and overcame it. While I was recovering, I remember thinking, 'Why have I not done what I came to earth to do? How much more development do I really need to do?' I woke up on the other side and knew I simply had to do this. The whole situation gave me something to say and something to play." 

With Fated, he speaks volumes. Tracks like the riff-driven "Pray" find James calling for compassion during times of division, while the slow-burning soul song "Is This History" matches big questions with even bigger hooks. Meanwhile, "Human Condition" builds its way toward a climactic chorus punctuated by vocal harmonies and pounding percussion, "Another Night" nods to James' long-held appreciation for fiery funk and Stevie Wonder-sized soul, and a Jimi Hendrix-worthy cover of The Doors' "Hello, I Love You" showcases his 1960s influences. "Fated," the album's title track, serves as a mission statement for the entire project, folding fuzz-guitar heroics into an anthemic track about drive, destiny, and the need to chase down one's own horizon. 

Fated is both an introduction and a comeback story. It's a bold battle cry from a musician who knows what it's like to come face-to-face with his own mortality. Here, Jeau James celebrates life over the course of eight songs, pouring plenty of heart, soul, and bluesy rock & roll into a track list that struts and swaggers.