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Meet Teresa James and Terry Wilson of Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps in Santa Clarita

Today we’d like to introduce you to Teresa James and Terry Wilson.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Teresa and Terry. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Teresa James: I started playing piano when I was really young. My older brother was taking piano lessons and when he would finish practicing, I would go and sit at the piano and play what he had been playing, so my mother signed me up for lessons, too. I studied classical piano until I was in high school when I started playing in bands and folk groups with my friends. When I was around eight years old, my dad started teaching me guitar, too, The first time I ever really performed in front of people was with my dad for a talent contest at a local park where we both played guitar and I sang a couple of folk songs. It was right then that I knew I wanted to play music when I grew up.

Terry Wilson: I started playing guitar when I was around 12. My mom n dad bought me a Silvertone acoustic guitar from Sears and started taking guitar lessons. I had a buddy who also played and we started playing school talent shows, “hootenannys” put on by our elementary school. From there…we found a buddy who wanted to play bass, found a drummer and a singer started a band and playing local dances around town. Haven’t stopped since.

Teresa: Terry and I met when he stopped off in Houston on his way to Los Angeles after living in London for several years. A mutual friend of ours booked us to play for his wife’s office Christmas party and we hit off both musically and personally. About a year after he moved to LA, the band I was in broke up and I moved out west to join him. We have been together ever since…

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Would not describe the music biz as a “smooth road” by any means. It’s long, crazy, wacky, at times demeaning, humbling, a test of will & patience while at the same time exciting, inspiring. Making ends meet in this biz is a challenge at times and at times when the work & dough is coming in….rewarding. What drives you…is your self-drive, your inspiration to achieve and create your art…IF you’re doing it for the dough, maybe not the thing to drive you.

Please tell us about Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps.
Teresa and I have a mom n pop production company/recording studio/ record label and are really a self-contained outfit that can do it all from our home. I (Terry) can engineer, compose, play guitar, bass, keyboards and Teresa’s vocal approach be it a blues, soul or country tune sets us apart I think from other production/labels/studios/bands. Being married and musical partners as well as parents of 2 now grown kids…we’ve been through a lot. Have learned a lot about the give and take of a partnership and covering each other’s backs when and if needed. I’m proud of what we have accomplished musically and are certainly proud of our kids, both being confident adults that have both found a passion in their lives with their professions. One is a touring musician, composer and the other runs and teaches in a Yoga Institute in Los Angeles. As far as a specialty…we’ve produced lots of blues-oriented stuff, country, pop/soul but, I lean to a blues/soul/rock style and Teresa does it all.

Our 2019 Grammy nomination for Contemporary Blues Album was a huge boost for us – both professionally and personally. After so many years of pursuing our passion, it was really great to get that acknowledgment from our peers.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Meeting Teresa…if it is luck or fate. I’d have to mention that. Was a life changer and especially after having kids. Made us both be more selective in what we do, Careful to not take certain road gigs to take us away from being a parent.

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Top photo by Mary Keating Bruton

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