Mike and Val James have performed to a variety of audiences in concerts, festivals, and private venues in the northwest and beyond for over 25 years. They accompany themselves on guitar (s), or enjoy performing with a jazz trio in the Port Townsend area. Their broad musical styles range from the traditional, to 1940’s, through 1980’s. Much of their music has “American Songbook”, folk, jazz, maritime, originals, songs for kids, or “bluesy” influences.
Val, whose mother sang with Bing Crosby on the radio and in films, loves jazz standards. Just Makin’ It Up, her new CD, includes all original tunes. Mike actually began singing jazz standards, show tunes, and novelty songs as a child for “Show and Tell” in kindergarten. Then the folk revival of the 60’s hit, and voila, a new source of joy!
They have several other albums to their credit, including Victory Music Projects, and are part of the “Constellation’s Crew” performing nautical and Celtic selections. Their most recent CD’s are Mixed Bag, a collection of songs ranging from traditional to modern folk and Broadway favorites. Back To Back with Dawn Clement, Steve Christofferson, Jeremy Jones, and Kevin McCarthy, as well as Live at the Upstage with The Pete Toyne Trio are collections of jazz standards. They also have an album of original songs for kids called, Carry Your Own Rainbow.
With their careers as educators behind them, Mike and Val are spending more time performing and writing, primarily in the Port Townsend area. They may be doing Broadway, jazz, originals, folk, maritime, kids’ songs, or ?????? If you’re in town check out places like The Cellar Door, Courtyard Café, or the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, and the Tumbleweed Music Festival. Mike & Val have appeared at the Tall Ships Festivals in Aberdeen, Victoria, and, Tacoma, and even entertained in Ullapool, Scotland with “Constellation’s Crew.” And, yes! It’s OK to sing along! Thanks for reading.
I've had the pleasure of attending several of Mike and Val's performances. Each time, I've left with a smile and humming one of their memorable tunes. I love the classic standards they are preserving for all of us. Val's got the voice, Mike has the guitar-chops, and their stage craft is well-honed. These two are pros and it shows. Don't miss them! - Jay Hagar
"Mike's folksy, down-home singing combines with Val's smooth-as-silk jazz voice to create duets that carry you away to a different time and place." - David Pablo Cohn
Both Mike and Val James are superlative performers with a wide range of songs and stories to entertain their audiences. - Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Their deep scholarship extends across American folk, sea shanties, jazz and beyond. Their ongoing creative spark alone is enough to keep me coming back for more - Bob Triggs
Mike and Val are fantastic. Val is a very talented songwriter - get her to play the iPhone song! Mike's rendition of "The Dutchman" will have you reaching for a box of Kleenex! Go watch them live. - Chris Gilbert