Meet James! James began his journey as an artist and musician at the age of 8, and has been writing and performing music ever since. James married Barbara in 1982 and jumped into a writing career, beginning with producing children’s books. James and Barbara raised two children as James continued his career in publishing and music when he was inspired to combine the two art forms to create a novel surrounded by accompanying music. His novel, Grey Morning Pass, is the result of his hard work. James is observant, warm, and a wonderfully talented artist, and it was a pleasure to hear his thoughts about what inspires his work as well as his experiences around Woodstock.
Thank you so much, James, for sharing your time with us! I so enjoyed hearing your wealth of stories and your thoughts on our community! Until next time!
Question: What inspired you or led you to write Grey Morning Pass?
Answer: We were preparing for a musical performance at a coffee house, and while we were rehearsing, I had this little idea of a tune, and it had such a vintage feel, and I thought about how it made me feel and I made up this story about a Civil War event that was happening pre-dawn before a battle. Well, I told the story and we worked up a song called Grey Morning in 15 minutes, I played it at that event, and the response I got from it was just amazing! So that inspired me to think more about that story that turned into a novel, and I kept hearing a song with different parts. I’ve always been a musician before anything else. So, I started writing music for it!
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?
A: I like J. Christopher’s, especially for breakfast! I love their eggs benedict.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Woodstock?
A: We’ve been here for 21 years!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: Probably Spain, so I could see the origin of some of the really nice classical guitars.
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: Two of my favorite movies that come to mind are ‘Platoon’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’. I was also really impacted by “O Brother Where Art Thou.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: I would say don’t infringe on others or on other beliefs.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: It might be cliché, but I think I’d like to skydive.
Q: What is your favorite music/3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: There’s a fusion between a variety of music today that I find fascinating, but if there is a piece of music that is profound, well organized, and emotional, that is what I really like.
Three bands? I like the Beatles because they were so influential to everybody, I like John McLaughlin, and I like Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Eagles…. I don’t have 3 favorites; I have 3,000 favorites!
Q: What current/former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Woodstock?
A: There’s a shoe shop that’s right next to Ken Stanton music! I’ve gotten to know the owner, who does shoe repair, and when you walk in his shop you feel like you’ve stepped back into the 50s and 60s.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Woodstock?
A: Here in the Arbors, there’s a lot of folks who have what you would call conventional jobs and conventional lifestyles who have surprising interests.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: I’d like to see Grey Morning Pass become a Netflix or Amazon series.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I was a navigator for oil exploration. I did that for 2 or 3 years! Also, right after we got married, I got hired to build the cable tv station for all of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. I had never done anything like that before, but I ended up taking the job, and sure enough, 2 years later, we had built this cable television station and I was the plant manager. It was a great job, and by the end, I knew every inch of that building.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Security, rest, family.
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: Stewart, my bird, cause it would be an interesting story!
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: It would be a driver!
Learn more about Grey Morning Pass and hear the music here
Purchase your own copy of the book here!