Teresa James was born and raised in Houston, Texas where she was introduced to music at an early age by her father and grandfather, both guitar players in the old school tradition. She starting playing piano at 5 and hasn’t stopped since. Called a singer’s singer by many, when the SAG Singer’s Committee got together to honor composer Randy Newman, Teresa was chosen as the soloist to perform his favorite song to him. She has recorded with Walter Trout, Eric Burdon, Spencer Davis, Tommy Castro, Stephen Bruton, Randy Newman, LeeRoy Parnell, Neil Diamond, and many others. She has performed live with lots of other artists, including: Marcia Ball, Levon Helm, Lloyd Jones, Delbert McClinton, and Eric Burdon & the Animals to mention just a few.
Relocating to Los Angeles in the 80’s, her band, the Rhythm Tramps, is made up of world class players that have toured or recorded with such artists as Eric Burdon & the Animals, Bonnie Raitt, Delbert McClinton, Jimmy Reed, Lightin’ Hopkins, Jimmy Vaughan, Johnny Nash, Smokey Robinson, Tom Jones, Tower Of Power, just to name a few and their songs have been recorded by many other artists. As one critic said, “there are no clichés in this band”. They move easily through Texas style grease and blues into Memphis soul or New Orleans flavored grooves and all points in between with fun and abandonment. In addition to having toured all over N. America and Europe, she has been one of the featured acts on Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beaches Cruise for over 20 years.
Her recordings have met with rave reviews (her last four releases have all received 4 star reviews from Downbeat Magazine) and have shown up on radio charts all over the world. Her 2019 release, ‘Here In Babylon’ was nominated for a Grammy for Contemporary Blues Album. In 2008, She was nominated by the Blues Foundation for “Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year”. She is now working on her 12th CD which should be out by fall of 2020.
A final note from Bill Bentley for Sonic Boomers: “This is the stuff they don't teach you in school… These are the keepers of the unknown language. Teresa’s voice is all-knowing, like she's been to the places most of us aren't able to go. It is a mixture of rejection and redemption, … be glad there are still people like Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps who care enough to do this and share their spirits. Each and every one of them should receive a letter jacket with a big "S" for soul on it. Class dismissed.
THE RHYTHM TRAMPS
Our band, the Rhythm Tramps, has a long history:
The first band to be called ‘the Rhythm Tramps’ was formed by Terry Wilson and Tony Braunagel when they were living in London back in the 70’s. They were touring at the time with the rock band, Back Street Crawler (which also featured the legendary Paul Kossoff on guitar and John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick who has been a long time keyboard player with The Who) and they missed playing the Texas style blues that they had grown up with, so they formed the ‘Rhythm Tramps’ and performed in local pubs. It got to be quite a hang for London musicians – legendary singer, Frankie Miller was one of the regulars, which also included whoever happened to be in town. The transient nature of the players spawned the name, ‘the Rhythm Tramps’. In the years since Terry and I have re-established the Rhythm Tramp tradition, we have also had a lot of amazing players that have played with the band – some for several years at a time, some for just a few nights. Even though we have a steady group of players with us now, there are still occasions where we have the opportunity to bring in other players. Below our current roster, you'll find a partial list (in no particular order) of some of the people that we have had the pleasure of working with over the years.
born: Warren, Arkansas
plays: bass and vocals
has played with: ERIC BURDON, JIMMY REED, JOHNNY NASH, BACKSTREET CRAWLER (PAUL KOSSOFF)
"Terry is the soul of the band. It is his vision and his songs that make up the essence of our music."
born: New Brunswick, Canada
plays: guitars and vocals
has played with: JACKSON BROWNE, BONNIE RAITT,
MOJO MONKEYS, JENNIFER WARNES
"Billy is a true musician and a joy to have in the band. He always seems to know just the perfect thing to play to bring out the heart of our music."
born: Houston, Texas
plays: drums and percussion
has played with: TOM JONES, TOWER OF POWER,
KENNY LOGGINS, GEORGE DUKE
"Herman has an eclectic style that is unlike any other drummer that I have ever worked with. He brings a wonderfully unique flavor to our music."
I’m sure that I have forgotten somebody, so if I left you out or if you know of anyone that I didn’t include – PLEASE let me know and I will fix it – I don’t want to leave anybody out.
(The * beside a name indicates active Rhythm Tramp status or special recognition for their contribution to the Tramps’ sound and the part they have played in the band’s legacy)
Tony Braunagel* / Jim Christie* / Debra Dobkin* / Tom Fillman* / James Cruce* / Willie Ornelas / Jack Bruno / Lynn Williams / George Perilli / Dave Hunt / Dennis Edwards / Jack Kelly / Jay Bellarose / Brian Head / Sinclair Lott / Eddie Tuduri / Michael Jay Dohoney / Richard Millsap / Gary Ferguson / John Molo / David Raven / Jim Varley / Steve Hunter / Moon Calhoun / Gary Ray / Michael Clark / Brie Darling / Brannen Temple
Tommy K* / Stephen Bruton* / Jimmy Don Smith* / Josh Sklair / Paul Warren / Johnny Lee Schell / Stevie Gurr / Don Evans / Dave Lewark / James Pennebaker / Rob McNelley / Dean Parks / Snuffy Walden / Mark Shark / Mark Karan / Carmen Grillo / Pat Thrall / Jim Gibson / Jon Woodhead / Randy Mitchell / Stuart Ziff / Bob Hawkins / Randy Cobb / Patrick Pearsall / Gurf Morlix / Larry Knight / Danny Weis / Ricky Zahariades
John Herron / Marty Grebb / Danny Timms* / Mike Finnegan* / William ‘Smitty’ Smith / Lee Michaels / Red Young* / Lewis Stephens* / John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick* / Kevin McKendree / Dillon O’ Brian* / Glen Clark / Michael Murphy / Tom Canning
Jerry Peterson* / Sean Holt* / Joe Sublett* / Daryl Leonard* / Bill Churchville* / Mark Pender* / Warren Ham / Bill Bergman / Les Lovitt / Ron Dziubla / Paulie Cerra / Lee Thornberg
Steve Mackie / Bob Glaub / ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson / David Jackson / Mike Mennell / Peter Freiberger / Taras Produniak / Will MacGregor / Ric Cortes*