James Patrick Carey
It’s hard to know where to begin to tell a story about James Patrick Carey. Do we start with how he took a job in London and eventually got kicked out of the whole country of England? Or should we open with his 4 year adventure in Nashville? Or we could talk about his continuing music career in California? Perhaps it’s best to just start at the beginning. James Patrick Carey (Jim to his friends) started life as a wee tot in Saint Paul, Minnesota. When he was 8 years old his grandparents bought a piano for his family and he began taking piano lessons. After a few weeks his piano teacher discovered that he had a penchant for picking up songs by ear, but it wasn’t until he found a bunch of old Beatles records that he found his love for music. Learning songs like Let It Be and Hey Jude were so much more fun than learning Hot Cross Buns. At 14 he started a band with his younger brother Joe, who was 12, on guitar and they were playing garages throughout the neighborhood. It was there that he found he could sing and write songs. By age 18 he was playing solo gigs in clubs, and by age 20 he had a band playing the whole circuit in Southern Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Over the next few years Jim’s career in music advanced. When he was 24, he was asked by Neal Schon (guitarist for Journey) to fly out to San Francisco and record a demo. There he worked with Neal, Ross Vallory (also of Journey fame), and Marty Cohn (producer for The Doobie Brothers). Back in Minnesota he continued to play with his brother Joe in a band called Loft. Loft saw much success throughout Minnesota yielding two studio records (Sky and Pavement). The band eventually folded and Jim and Joe decided to continue on as The Carey Brothers, eventually adding their sister Jessica to become The Careys. During all of this Jim was also singing tons of radio jingles that can still be heard nationwide. He released his first solo record in 2002 (Juliet Avenue, titled after the street on which he grew up). The next chapter of Mr. Carey’s musical career begins with two things happening simultaneously. He was asked to play keyboards in GB Leighton, a Midwestern favorite act; and he was asked to play a recurring solo gig in London, England. A few fun years were spent doing both. GB Leighton toured all over the US and Mexico, recorded an album, were featured in a Domino’s Pizza TV commercial, and garnered Jim a Minnesota Music Award nomination for Best Keyboard Player in 2007. All the while, he was playing in London every few months and was eventually offered a permanent gig across the pond. His love for the city couldn’t be contained so he took the offer. He sold the car, got out of the apartment lease, left the band (on good terms), and flew off to merry old England. However, due to extenuating circumstances that could not be helped, James was asked to leave the country. Back in the US but not broken, he decided to pack his bag (that hadn’t yet been unpacked) and head to Nashville with fellow GB Leighton alumnus Jason Perri. Together they were none other than Perri & Carey. They worked hard to try and get a record deal, playing for presidents of major record labels and big wigs like Doc McGhee. To make a living and keep playing live music Jim discovered the world of dueling pianos landing a job in the heart of Nashville, right on Broadway, at The Big Bang. A few amazing years were spent working with Jason, playing at the club, and writing tons of songs. This leads us to the next chapter…
After really giving it a go in Nashville, but no leads on a record deal, he got a call to come to sunny California and play at another dueling pianos club. California seemed like wonderful new adventure so he accepted. He’s now living just outside of LA and playing 4 nights a week at a club called PianoPiano in Claremont, CA. At the same time, and after years of urging by his brother Joe, he recorded his second solo record entitled Scoundrels & Saints. Joe is “the man behind the glass” on this triumphant effort, taking the role of producer. Jim says, “I had tons of songs ready to go and Joe had been on my back for years to do another record. So I finally gave in but told him that he had to produce it. He said ok and we worked like mad to get this thing done, and from a great distance! He’s in Minnesota and I’m in California. I flew back home a couple of times to pre-produce and for the sessions, but there was a lot of emailing and texting going on there. He really did a lot to my songs. Made them so much better and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” The record, Scoundrels & Saints was released in March 2014!
In November of 2017 James reenlisted the help of Joe and their sister Jessica to record yet another album, Picasso's Brush which is due for release in Fall 2018. This is his third solo effort to date and it promises to be something special with the return of some familiar people and some new faces as well, along with some beautiful decorations like a 40 piece string orchestra and an appearance by the Great Highland Bagpipes. Picasso's Brush is rich in its journey through your ears. Themes like living in the moment and celebrating someone's beauty abound, alongside haunting melodies and memories of a life lived with parents or a reunion with an old flame. James' voice is still raspy and longing and knows how to tell a story, and when it's joined by the voices of his sister and brother the gorgeous harmonies are undeniable. Whether it's an upbeat tune or a thoughtfully touching song you're looking for Picasso's Brush delivers the goods!