Who is James Barker Band? The lead singer-songwriter of James Barker Band joined us to chat about their journey to country music. Get to know the rising act here…
Full Name – James Barker Band
Hometown – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Musical Influences – Eric Church, Maroon 5, The Strokes, Keith Urban
Today, we are shining our spotlight on a band we have been loving for the last few years, James Barker Band. The Canadian country band continues to grow their fanbase year after year. If you do not have them on your radar, what are you waiting for? We chatted with lead singer-songwriter, James Barker about his career and the trajectory of his namesake group.
James Barker Band is comprised of four talented men – James Barker, Taylor Abram, Connor Stephen, and Bobby Martin. The men are all from different parts of Canada, near Toronto; however, met each other later in life. Barker grew up in Woodville, Ontario, focusing on music right from the get-go.
“I started kind of playing music when I was 4. I played violin actually, weirdly, classical stuff. I got into songwriting at 12, when I started learning guitar.” Barker’s family influenced him from day one. “I listened to a lot of different stuff. My dad was from the country, so he always listened to country music, and we always had country music on. But my mom was raised in Toronto, so she listened to all kinds of stuff,” shared the singer.
While in high school, the singer focused on writing music. Then one summer, he met Conner, who would go on to be his first bandmate. “I met a fellow by the name of Conner Stephen at a band camp actually,” began Barker. “We were fans of the same kind of music at the same, angsty teenage stuff, and we started a little band.”
Eventually, after Stephen came back from college, the pair recruited their other two members. “We had done recording with Taylor Abram at a studio and thought we should steal him. And we played with Bobby [Martin] in a couple of different bands, and we stole him too.”
The Turning Point:
James Barker Band was officially formed in 2015. “Music draws like-minded people together. It’s such a country music thing, I mean you see it in Nashville every day,” shared Barker. “If you love music, and do it every day, you’re bound to run into people with the same mindset.”
Despite coming back and forth to Nashville, since 2011, the entire band made the move in 2018 to Music City, bringing their eclectic sound to center stage. “We are always blending [genres] in a cool way,” began Barker. “Especially because it is the four of us, and we all have different musical tastes – you definitely hear stuff that is band-related, especially that all rock kind of thing.”
The band names artists like Keith Urban, Eric Church, Maroon 5, and the Arctic Monkeys as some of their top influences. Barker even shared that the band loves incorporating soul, hip-hop, and R&B into their music as well. “One thing we have never done is say ‘we have to make this sound country,’ we’re always like this just has to sound like us, but because we love country music first and foremost, it’s going to come out like that.”
Fortunately, for JBB, the pandemic was a time for them to continue to hone their craft. The artists spent the time perfecting their sound and improving their songwriting ability. “When you have so much time to just concentrate on something, you just get better so much faster,” shared Barker. Adding,“You mature as an artist and you mature as a writer, and I feel like you definitely hear that in our music.”
Flash-forward to today, James Barker Band got to release one of their pandemic tunes. Most recently, the band dropped their new single, “Rain All Summer.” The sensual and nostalgic song is the perfect blend of soul and country. “With “Rain All Summer” you definitely hear our maturity and our gain in complexities,” shared Barker.
“The cool thing about writing any song, it’s like figuring out the vibe of the song and what the real emotions are before you dig into the lyrics.” With this song, the vibe was all about “giving you a reason not to leave this room.” The song was created to be this sexy and fantasy-like song without being too on the nose, or romantic.
“You can push the envelope a bit sonically and musically, but the lyrics always need to make sense and live like a freaking working-class person,” shared Barker.
Fans can anticipate more new music to come soon from James Barker Band. The lead singer let us know that they have a ton of new music ready to go. Fans can also look forward to more fun TikTok’s and social media escapades from the band, as well as, more live shows sooner rather than later.
Fans can join our Weekly Round-Up e-newsletter here, for the latest in country music and more news and announcements about future James Barker Band releases.
James Barker Band’s music is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.