Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps

Since Austin is crawling with Texas blues divas, Houston native Teresa James looked west for audiences and appreciation. Now based in Los Angeles and a veteran of the West Coast blues scene, James counts folks like Bonnie Raitt and Delbert McClinton among her fans and supporters. Her latest album, The Rhythm Method, sounds way more Austin than L.A., and way more Texas than anything else. Like Raitt or McClinton, James can come on with consummate big-beat, let's-party, roadhouse swagger ("Nobody Rings My Bell [Like I Do]"), but she can also tone it down and light the torch beautifully ("Back into Her Heart").

In addition to her recordings and shows, James has also managed to tap into film and television in L.A. She did the theme to the ABC series Step By Step and was regularly featured on Ellen. She also landed a choice gig as actress Andie McDowell's singing coach for the John Travolta movie Michael (her song "Sitting by the Side of the Road," sung by McDowell, was included in the certified-gold-selling soundtrack).

James has played several of McClinton's blues cruises and a couple of Houston International Festivals since migrating west, but this will be her first Houston club date in ages. She'll be backed by a band of L.A. pros, including husband Terry Wilson on bass and another Houston expat, former Kirk Whalum drummer Herman Matthews, who's worked with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Kenny Loggins to Tom Jones. With James back on home turf and packing some extreme L.A. blues firepower in her backing ensemble, this one has the potential to be one of those "you shoulda been there" shows.

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William Michael Smith