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Colin James returns to Wild Mountain stage

Tyler Waugh

Colin James got back to the blues with his last album, and in July he’s getting back to the Wild Mountain Music Festival main stage to headline Saturday night.

James headlined in 2016 and Jason Williams, music director for Wild Mountain, said the crowd can expect a live performance that has continued to develop since then.

“It’s great news for us … especially after he just won another Juno this year. He’s evolved once again,” Williams said.

“Even since the last time he’s played … I’ve seen him four or five times in the last year and a half … he’s found another gear. He’s really putting on a great show and you can tell he’s just happy to be there and you can feel it.”

James has been a fixture of the Canadian music scene since busting out with his blues influenced hits like Voodoo Thing, Why’d You Lie and Five Long Years in 1988, followed up with Keep On Lovin’ Me Baby and Just Came Back in 1990.

At one point in his career he was told not to play the blues because the label wanted a pop hit, but he has continued to chart his own path with journeys into blues, acoustic blues and folk. But the release of Miles To Go in fall 2018, his 19th album, marks a return to blues … something James says is the only genre where you can maintain a young profile at age 53.

“Music is such a passion and a lifeforce for me. I can’t help but be drawn to something that moves me. If it’s not pulling you in, then what’s

the point? There was a time when I was affected by a review that said ‘he should decide whether he’s a rock star or a swing artist’ or whatever. I am a chameleon. I’ve learned to become okay with that and not make excuses for it. I realize that all the things that get you to where you’re going are important. As long as you keep striving to become better, that’s all that counts,” said James.

Williams said that the business community continues to step up and support in that sense continues to stay ahead of target to date. He says the focus now will be to drive support in another sense – and that is ticket sales.

He said that announcing headliners like Colin James, as well as earlier announcements surrounding Five Alarm Funk and Shred Kelly, will be followed by a full lineup announcement within the next couple of weeks. He hopes fan response will come early and often in the form of ticket sales.

“Without seeing or knowing where we are going with attendance it’s hard to plan and prepare. Buying early gives us a heads up on what to expect and, with cash flow, money in the bank is always helpful. If people are planning to come it will be a big help to the festival for them to get their tickets,” Williams said.

Tickets for Wild Mountain, which returns to Entrance Ranch from July 19 – 21, are available at The early bird pricing deadline is coming June 1, the same day that Wild Mountain has decided to return the Wild Mountain Mash Up.

“It’s one of those things that we took a wait and see with because of resources, but we’ve been getting calls and there’s a demand. We’ve got some help and so we decided to move ahead,” Williams said.

There are still details to finalize about the Mash Up, but the idea right now is to have at least a couple different categories. Performers looking to participate in the Mash Up should email