From the time that I began to write the “Entertainers of the Island” series, I have always found the reason for the feature entertainer taking up music and their main influences to be of particular interest and when I put that question to Bribie Island entertainer, Jack James, his answer was probably not quite what I was expecting. ‘When I was a kid growing up, I used to hear Slim Dusty, Charley Pride, Slim Dusty, Waylon Jennings, Slim Dusty, Johnny Cash and Slim Dusty,’ said Jack.
‘My father had every Slim Dusty album ever made,’ he explained. Jack told me that he first began to take an interest in being a musician as a young teen and after some time of just strumming a guitar at home, he joined with a mate from football and they entertained as a duo. ‘I would say that my main influence in music was John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival and I used to try to sound like him,’ he remarked.
From being in a duo, Jack decided to begin performing on his own and although he still joins with his football friend for a couple of performances each year, he is mainly known as a solo artist. As is the case with experienced entertainers, Jack’s repertoire when performing covers songs from a great variety of genres and eras and he said that there are times when he is surprised at what the audience enjoys. ‘From time to time I do a few Johnny Cash songs and the first time that I decided to sing a Cash song, I really didn’t think that anyone would like it,’ said Jack.
‘As it turned out, they loved it so it just goes to show, you have to have a really long list of songs that will cater for all tastes,’ he said. Having moved to Bribie Island from Toowoomba four years ago, Jack has become well known as a regular performer at the Blue Pacific Hotel, both on the Locals Only Sundays and also Friday evenings. He said that he also entertains at a number of venues in and around Brisbane as well as working full time in the construction industry.
When discussing his wide variety of songs, he said that he particularly enjoys what he describes as “bluesy country” and also songs by Jimmy Barnes, Cold Chisel and AC/DC. ‘I try to put my own touch to whatever I sing,’ Jack told me. ‘There was a time when if you didn’t sing a song exactly the same as the original artist, the audience hated it but now, it’s just the opposite and people like to hear someone sing a song their way,’ he said.
Jack James (R) with the guys from Locals Only
Jack James is an artist who has the ability to capture an audience with his style of music and this is obviously the reason why he is kept so busy as an entertainer, both locally and in Brisbane. I would strongly suggest a visit to the Blue Pacific Hotel when he is performing and I know that anyone who takes advantage of an opportunity to do so will not leave disappointed.
If there is anyone who would like to book Jack James to entertain at a venue, he can be contacted either through his Facebook page which is Sing Jack James, by email to jactrak@yahoo. com.au or by phone on 0446 112 166.