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James Houlahan



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James Houlahan is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Born and raised in New England, Houlahan began writing songs on the piano at the age of nine. His first compositions included an ode to Halloween entitled “Scarey Halloween” . Quitting piano at the ripe age of 11, he ventured into the universe of saxophones in an attempt to stand out in the school band (which included some dozen or so other saxophone players…). This also resulted in a dead end, as the only sounds he could conjure from the golden horn resembled the desperate bleatings of an animal not long for this life. And so he quit the saxophone. Finally, at the age of 13, he heard a Randy Rhoads guitar solo and realized his fingers needed to be playing a guitar.

Houlahan began to seriously write songs in college as he juggled the possibilities for writing poetry with writing music. Influenced by writers such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Neil Young, Houlahan tried many different styles and verbal projects. More recently influenced by writers such as Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt, he has become interested in combining aspects of traditional music with evocative, more personal lyrics. Stumbling into Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music has also opened numerous doors into What’s Next.

Houlahan cut his teeth as a performer in The Jody Grind, a Boston roots-rock band he formed with Sara Colb and Mike Null in 2002. As of mid-2007, the Grind ceased to be active. Starting in early 2009, Houlahan started another music project in addition to solo performing. He now sings, plays guitar and writes for the garage rock band Dogs On Television.

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