Friday, May 16, 2014

A Snapshot of James Loney: Another Featured Performer in Tomorrow's Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan

The North Country Dylan Fest is kicking off this weekend. Tonight Cowboy Angel Blue will be performing at VIP Pizza in Superior. Tomorrow, though, is the big kickoff mega-show featuring two dozen musicians plus magicians Magic Marc and John Bushey, to keep you entertained during set changes. The rehearsals last Tuesday were fabulous and everyone is looking forward to a great show.

One of the performers will be James Loney, whose music has been described as "a unique mix of folk and rock, highlighted by intelligent and evocative lyrics, accessible and catchy melodies and passionate vocals and instrumentals." Loney has been writing and performing in bands or as a solo act since his mid-teens and his bands (House of Mirrors and James Loney & The Velvet Troubadours) have played live shows with iconic groups including Flamin' Ohs, The Phones, Soul Asylum and Golden Smog. James' solo music has been prominently featured in "Lucky Town Blues", starring Kirsten Dunst and "Just Write", featuring Jeremy Piven, and he will be releasing a new EP in the second half of 2010. Key band members joining James on stage and in the studio are Robert Wilkinson (Flamin' Ohs and The Snaps) and Paul McFarland (Patches and Gretchen and Poosa).

James Loney (R) with Matt Fink
EN: When did you first realize music was your passion?

James Loney: When I was 12 years old I was placed in St. Josephs Home for Children. There was a cheap guitar there and I was obsessed. It took me out of all the confusion and made me happy...still does.

EN: You’ve performed with some pretty high profile groups, like the Flamin’ Ohs and Soul Asylum. How did you go from gangly teen to desired talent?

JL: Gangly teen to desired talent? Ha! That's funny! When I was 17 years old, I worked at Burger King on Hennepin and used to give Robert Wilkinson (Flamin Ohs) free burgers out of the side door. He asked if I knew how to strobe tune a guitar and offered me a job as a monitor mixer/tech and thus began an almost 2 year run of live music somewhere in the region every weekend. Seeing all those shows really gave me the bug to write and perform. I also lived with The Phones for my entire 20s. I earned a lot from those guys... they were very supportive. The Soul Asylum deal was just a few opening slots as I kinda knew Dan Murphy thru his wife at the time Bonnie.

EN: You’re a songwriter yourself, yes? Does being a songwriter give one any special insights to Dylan’s achievements that the average person might not get?

(L to R) Paul Metsa, James Loney, Courtney Yasmineh
JL: As a songwriter I'm pretty sure that I speak for almost 99% of songwriters when I say that Bob is the single greatest writer of this or pretty much ANY generation. Sometimes I'll go to his website and just read the lyrics. Pretty vivid stuff. To say that he has a way with words is the understatement of the century. I seriously put him up there with David the psalmist.

EN: How did you get connected to A Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan?

JL: I got connected to this thru Marc and Geno about 4 years ago. I love the spirit of all the people involved over the years, the talent is amazing.

EN: When did you first take an interest in Dylan’s music?

JL: I was first connected to Dylan's music very late in the game. Slow Train Coming was and still is one of my favorite records. I realize this is not the popular answer but I didn't really prefer the 60s or 70s Bob. I'm an 80s till present guy :-)

EN: Any last comments besides telling people to come and see the show?

JL: Just this... I actually rode the bus on a minor league ballpark tour Dylan did some years back with the legendary Hoot Borden at the wheel. 4 dates then home. It was pretty interesting to see him work.

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EdNote: This blog entry and others like it have the aim of raising awareness for the upcoming Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan concert which will kick off the 2014 North Country Dylan Celebration in Duluth and Hibbing. Sacred Heart Music Center, May 17, 2014. For tickets to this event visit

Visit the Salute Facebook page and share with your friends by clicking the Invite button. 

A Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan is a presentation of the Armory Arts and Music Center and Magic Marc Productions.

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