Canada’s Howie James (Nanaimo, BC) has recorded his first album of all original music entitled Don’t Be Ashamed. At 75 years young this came as a bit of a surprise to friends and family who figured the old crooner was done with making any major musical moves. And while it’s true that this legendary Vancouver nightclub singer only ever played covers in his time, something changed this last year and Howie started laying down some classic tracks of his own. This 14 song collection of jazz, roots, gospel, rock and a little bossa nova is already sounding like timeless standards, with songs of love and faith that will make you feel you’ve known this smooth entertainer from way back. Howie wrote every song himself, singing each track with passion and wit, while playing his fabulous vintage Gibson guitar with all the skill and subtlety the years have bestowed upon him. Much like his heroes Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, he couldn’t help but make a crowd pleasing album with a little something something for everyone. The result is an honest and inspired masterpiece. Or as Howie puts it – ‘This disc really swings!’

Don’t Be Ashamed also features guest spots from some pretty top talent including John Sheard (CBC’s Vinyl Cafe) on piano, Anne Lindsay (Blue Rodeo, John McDermot) on the violin, Tom Keenlyside (Dizzy Gillespie, Tom Jones, Diana Krall) on sax, Wes Wraggett (VCM Faculty) on guitar, and a genetically talented one-man band on pretty much everything else; ex-Toronto singer songwriter Reid Jamieson. Rather a family affair, the record was produced by Reid; Howie’s great-nephew, who just moved to Howie’s old stomping grounds in Vancouver and couldn’t help but get inspired by the musical rebirth of his ‘brother in song’. This meeting of the musical mojo will culminate in a once in a lifetime show at Hermann’s Jazz Club on Saturday February 2nd, 2008. The last time they played together at the Queen Mother a year previous; was a standing room only success that surely inspired this new opus. You won’t want to miss Howie’s big moment in the spotlight, so book yourself a comfy seat now. Proceeds from the door to local charities.

Tracks Listing

All songs written by Howie James / Produced by Reid Jamieson 

1. Don’t Be Ashamed
2. Dreamin’ Old Dreams
3. It’s Not Too Late
4. Harbour City
5. Be A Woman To Me
6. Funny Girl
7. Out Of Control
8. Be Still My Love
9. Start Livin’ It
10. Lazy Day
11. Just Want You Near Me
12. Never Sang A Love Song
13. Mister Johnson
14. 20 Years

“Very impressed…you’ll want to listen to it again and again…(Howie) has paid his dues and has not lost his touch.” – Western Swing Music Society 2009