They performed a string of shows at Seattle and Tacoma venues like The Tractor Tavern and Jazzbones, receiving overwhelming support from friends, family and fellow artists throughout the local music scene, including comparisons to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen from Seattle Weekly.
June 30th, 2012 saw the release of Coates’s debut full-length album, Land of Fame and Glory, a concept album about the artistic compromise that comes from commercial success. Songs like "Gimme Something Real" and "Man of Faith” have become fan favorites and are still played live to this day.
James promoted the album with a 7-week nationwide tour that made stops in Minnesota, Chicago, New York, Austin and San Francisco, among other cities. The 9,000-mile trek was highlighted by a headlining performance at The Bluebird Cafe, the setting of ABC television’s hit series Nashville.
James Coates is a Northwest-based singer-songwriter who dabbles to great success in the genres of Americana, folk, country and soul music. His journey began at the age of 2-years-old when his father, a piano tuner and talented musician himself, began showing him basic chords and melodies on the piano.
James learned the basics of music on the piano, but wouldn’t begin truly expressing himself until he learned another instrument. At age eleven, he was gifted an acoustic guitar after his grandmother passed away. A few short years later he would begin to teach himself to sing and write his first original songs.
After trying his hand at home recording, Coates took a job at a local call center to fund his first series of professional demos with local engineer David Barfield at Hourglass Studios in Bonney Lake, near his hometown of Sumner, WA.
After completing 10 songs, James played a string of successful shows with a backing band formed of friends Cameron Hatch on guitar, Pax Allen on drums and 17-year-old Chase Herzog on bass. The group would soon disband with James beginning work, again at Hourglass Studios, on his debut E.P.
Coates, who performed vocals, guitar, bass, drums, piano, and organ, released his self-titled EP on December 8th, 2008, the anniversary of John Lennon’s passing. Among the 5 songs were “Cigarette Blvd.” and “On My Way Home” which have become staples in his live set, the latter receiving airplay from DJ Greg Vandy on KEXP 90.3 FM, one of the world’s most beloved independent radio stations.
James formed a new backing band consisting of Kevin Poleskie and Jason Maybell of fellow Sumner band The Cloves on bass and drums, respectively. They promoted the release with a string of shows at Seattle and Tacoma venues like the Tractor Tavern and Jazzbones, receiving overwhelming support from friends, family and fellow artists throughout the local music scene.
James formed a new backing band, The Lost Souls, consisting of Kevin Poleskie and Jason Maybell of fellow Sumner band The Cloves on bass and drums, respectively.
After returning home, Coates joined his friends in The Cloves to record and release Revival, their first full-length album after over a decade as a band. Performing as keyboardist and one of four vocalists, he joined the band for their album release performance, a sold-out show at Seattle’s Triple Door.
That same year, James would perform his biggest show to date, an acoustic set opening for 9-time Grammy-winner Sheryl Crow at Woodinville’s Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. The 30-minute show featured almost entirely new songs and was met with widespread acclaim from the audience of 4,000 people.
The next year, Coates took would take those same songs into Puyallup’s AM Studios and began recording his second full-length album with producer and engineer Michael Rabb. The 10-song collection would take 5 years to complete, halted several times by professional struggles, personal tragedies, the birth of Rabb’s first child and the coronavirus pandemic.
After several setbacks, One Last Ride was finally released on October 16th, 2020, supported by a limited number of shows due to the ongoing COVID lockdown. The album drew on a lifetime of influences, featuring country-rock tunes supported by gospel choirs, soulful ballads lifted up by horn sections and even a chamber orchestra on opening track "The American."
2022 will see the release of three new songs recorded with engineer Cameron Hatch at Tacoma’s Wild Abandon Recording, the first of which, “Make Peace,” is available now.