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Deep and Raw Folk Blues: Shawn James and the Shapeshifters

Deep and Raw Folkblues: Shawn James and the Shapeshifters

Born on the south side of Chicago in 1986, singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Shawn James had a kind, hardworking Mother and a gambling, drunk and often abusive Father. Unlike most of the blues musicians on this website Shawn James started his life in Chicago and moved to the south later in life. This folk bluesman is recognizable for his deep, raw and soulful singing. Y´all should see this young musician play with his backing band the ShapeShifters

Soulful singing of the Blues

While young in age Shawn James brings a whole lot of soul into his songs. James music isn’t limited to one genre, you will hear almost every instrument used in the roots music around. He explains that “his conflicted home life can still be heard in his music which can be full of contrasts — dark and light, anger and joy, earthy and airborne – while remaining gritty and real”.

James learned to sing with soul in church growing up. The Gospel singing style now seems to be a perfect combination for his music, his voice digs deeper through you vains than a harmonica swing like in the song ‘Who Did That To You’.

Shawn James – Shadows

Moving to Arkansas, starting a band

After playing in bands since the age of sixteen, Shawn moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas in January 2012. Attracted to the beauty of the natural state and even more impressed by Fayetteville’s diverse and thriving music scene, he began performing every chance he got.

Hard driving Folk Blues

Wherever Shawn James performs there is one thing sure: his inimitable voice and hard-driving folk/soul/blues hybrid are made for a performance you wouldn’t soon forget, if it is on the street, in a bar or at a house party.

Shawn James – press phot

Besides the great vocals of this bluesman you will notices creative musical compositions. It is the result of the use of multiple instruments like the Banjo. The Mandolin, The creative rhythm section and groovy guitar and piano. At the peak of a individual song this music rolls over you like a raging bull, and leaves you to heal the wounds in silence.

Covers of the blues and gospel

A great extra is the covers album that James recorded with songs like the Gospel traditional “John The Revelator” and “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”. Over the Last few years James and the Shapeshifters released a great triology album set called “The Bear”, “The Hawk” and “The Wolf”. Especially “Scapter II: Hunger” is what everybody would call a Hit!

Find out more about Shawn James and the Shapeshiters on his Website and Facebook.


Shawn James The Bear

“God is Gonna Cut You Down” – Shawn James and the Shapeshifters (Johnny Cash)

Shawn James | Who Did That To You | John Legend Cover

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters | The Lost Cross

Shawn James & The Shapeshifters | The Bear: Hunger

Shawn James – Shadows

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