Thanks for your interest in me. I’m a lifelong musician and there’s a lot I could say, but here are the highlights so far.
I took piano lessons from ages 7-18 with the same wonderful teacher, Carolyn Victorine. I loved Classical music. My heroes were Beethoven and Handel and I dreamed of being a great composer. (I used to “air-conduct” Beethoven’s 9th symphony.) Senior year of high school I won some scholarships and competitions, seemingly on track to a conservatory education.
However, my teenage urges to “ROCK!!” had grown strong. I started guitar lessons at 16. Van Halen and Metallica became my new heroes. Dreams of symphonies became dreams to form the next great Heavy Metal band. I took that ambition to Berklee College of Music as a guitar major.
I loved Berklee and built on my Classical background with Jazz harmony, Pop songwriting and fingerstyle guitar. I graduated in 2004 cum laude with degrees in Performance and Music Business.
Post college I spent a lot of time in different bands, but always writing on my own too. I became a student of songwriting, while continuing to compose for guitar and piano. Over the years my solo work has taken over.
My first official release was the vocal single “Wait For Me” in 2014. It was written for my girlfriend when we were dating long-distance. (She did wait and now we’re married with twins.)
That same year I took first prize in Fingerstyle Guitar at the Topanga Banjo/Fiddle Festival. It was a nice little win for a self-taught fingerstyle player.
I released my first full album, Solo Piano Destruction, in 2015. It received positive reviews:
“If you’re a lover of solo piano music that’s not afraid to explore uncharted musical territory, this album is for you! James has something very different to say here, and in so doing has created a great piece of art.” – Enlightened Piano Radio (full review HERE)
“…Woolwine’s playing style is bold and energetic…he has an expressive touch that conveys a variety of moods and tonal colors.” – MainlyPiano.com (full review HERE)
“Solo Piano Destruction is a piano album that…fans of the genre will be eager to make…part of their ever growing collection.” – One World Music Radio (full review HERE)
In 2017 that album was a finalist in the Enlightened Piano Radio Solo Piano Awards. It didn’t win, but I got to perform at the Grand Ole Opry which was very cool. Here’s a picture of me outside:
In 2018 some of those songs earned me a semi-finalist position in the American Prize Competition for Solo Piano Performance.
For my second album I wanted to finally showcase my guitar playing. Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar was released in 2018 and also received positive reviews:
“All of the songs on Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar are enjoyable listening for anyone who likes solo acoustic guitar music.” – Minor7th.com (full review HERE)
“…beautiful…with flowing melody and intricate finger work…Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar has something for everyone, so if you enjoy solo acoustic guitar that’s a little different be sure to check this one out!” – MainlyPiano.com (full review HERE)
“A master Composer/Guitarist and a gem of an album…James Woolwine is a wonderfully talented musician with an ability to look back to the classics and forward to the present to create amazing musical compositions, performed with virtuosity and deep emotion.” – one of my fans (Thanks MB!)
As of this writing my next release will showcase my catalog of vocal songs. I’ve been songwriting for several years and want to share that side of myself.
Long-term, I intend to create vocal and instrumental music equally.
Most importantly, I want to use my music to make a positive difference in the world!
If you would like to help me create new music to grow this mission, please support me on Patreon.