James McGarvey

part folk. part rock. all soul.



Getting Updated

If you’ve been following my Facebook page, you know that I’ve been fortunate enough to find the best community of musicians in San Diego County.

A few day into the new year, I performed at Open Mic Night in Fallbrook, one of many local music experiences created and produced by Kenneth Rexrode. I was thrilled with the reception in the room; it was an honor to play for so many people who appreciate and understand live music.

Just a few days before I returned for my second performance at Open Mic, Ken asked me to be part of the upcoming Six String Society‘s Mardi Gras Cruise. Of course I said yes.


I can’t wait to head out on this boat for awesome tunes and fun. Word on the street is folks are getting all dressed up and fancy for this shinding, so Maggie’s been having fun planning what she’s going to wear. Me? I’ll just wear what she tells me to. It’s easier that way.

I’ve got some other gigs planned for next month, check out the list below, and be sure to follow me on Facebook for more updates and info!


Catching Up

As I’ve been thinking about 2016, one word keeps coming to mind: eventful.

The world lost a lot of celebrities and artists, including some whose music had a profound impact on me.

Maggie and I celebrated Molly’s first birthday, Jacob’s fifth, and our sixth anniversary.

I got a beautiful new Seagull guitar, named Lana.

We took a road trip to The Gorge for the Dave Matthews Band’s three-night stand and helped raise some serious dough for conservation efforts.

We met some amazing new friends, and a guy in a Superman shirt bear-hugged me so hard it felt like I broke a rib.

We brought the kiddos with us as we voted in the primary and general elections.

I watched the Packers turn a rough season into another NFC North title.

I played tunes for and with some incredible people.

We found a new spot to live in beautiful Oceanside – our official California hometown – and I’m hard at work getting my home studio up and running so I can write and record new music.

Like I said, eventful.

On the Star-Spangled Banner

Guest post from my lovely wife, Maggie, today. She’s also trained as a singer, so has some great insights on singing the National Anthem (although, her tips can be applied to any performance too). Check out what she has to say.

On Life and Other Adventures

The Star-Spangled Banner, our much maligned National Anthem, has gotten a bad rap for being “the hardest piece of music to sing.” This myth has been propagated by any number of bad performances by celebrities (including some world class musicians) and the advent of the internet. Never before has it been so easy to find and share bad performances of the Anthem.

Can I tell you a secret? It’s actually really easy to sing.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching and listening as James helps prepare our friend (his Perfect Strangers) band mate Stefaniefor her performance at the January 27thLA Kings game. Here are some of the notes he’s given her, along with some of my observations from years of performing (and watching performances of) the Anthem.

Find your first note.
Most performances of the Anthem begin their flame out on the first note because…

View original post 1,131 more words

California Living

We got to Oceanside, CA late last Friday night. After we got everything set up, Maggie and I headed out to get a quick bite. Since it was almost 10, and we were really, really hungry, we stopped into the first open spot we found, Carmine’s. The staff was very friendly, the slices were good, and they had garlic knots! East Coast friends, this place reminded us a lot of La Festa in Dover, NH, so keep it in mind.

Saturday, was a day for errands, Maggie, her mom, and the kiddos headed off to check out the Vista Farmers’ Market, and managed to score me my first official West Coast gig barely 14 hours after we got here – check out the Gigs page for more  details.

Sunday, I finally got to have my first rehearsal with Perfect Strangers, my newest project: a cover band featuring tunes from the ’80s and ’90s. Dustin & Stef are awesome bandmates, and I’m looking forward to playing out with them soon.

Monday, we had another rehearsal, and Maggie came out at the beginning to do a photo shoot. The pictures look great, and they’re working perfectly for posters, business cards, and online images.

We had more rehearsals on Wednesday and Friday, though I couldn’t let Thursday go by without playing, so I headed down to the Oceanside Sunset Market to busk at the end of Pier View Way. The vibe here is incredible, so many people were getting into the groove of what I was doing; I’m definitely going down to busk again this week.

The rest of the week has been filled with getting our online accounts up and running (shout out to Maggie for all of her help), recording some demo videos with Perfect Strangers, and practicing for our debut gig at The Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub here in Oceanside.

There’s still a ton to do, but I’m so motivated to get it done. Thanks to everyone who’s supported me thus far.

More to come #itsallhappening

California Dreams

Updates from Wisconsin

Bottles for BamaGreen & Reverb
Bottles for BamaGreen & Reverb

It’s been a busy week for me and Maggie here in Wisconsin. As I mentioned before, we spent Saturday and Sunday at Alpine Valley. Maggie wrote about the weekend on her blog, go check it out (#shamelessplug).

I’ve had fun bringing Jacob around to all of the best of what Wisconsin has to offer, Culver’s, The Chocolate Factory, and of course KwikTrip. Maggie’s also been helping Jacob practice his letters on the signs for the County Roads.

Not only did I get to jam with my friend Astel, but I also got to help him work on some of his tunes. I’m hoping that some day I’ll get to be in the role of producer for other musicians, there’s something very rewarding about helping artists get focused and create incredible music.

Last night we had a backyard show for my parents’ neighbors; which was going really well until the heat & humidity broke my g-string (again). Thankfully I found The Music Cafe in Mukwongo, where I got to pick up a couple sets of Elixirs and support a local business.

We leave Burlington sometime Friday to head out to Boyceville so I can play at my friend Brooke’s wedding.

More updates to come!

County Road W

We’re Hitting the Road!

In just less than two weeks, we’ll be piling into the car and heading west!
We’ve got stops planned to visit some of Maggie’s family on our way to Wisconsin, where we’ll visit my parents, volunteer for Reverb for the DMB shows at Alpine, and get to celebrate my friend Brooke’s marriage.

Then, we’ll hopefully continue our trek to Southern California for sun, sand, and shit-tons of playing music!

I’ll post updates when possible, but in the meantime, if you’re currently local to me, get out to see me one last time in New England on July 11!



Happy Holidays, all!

We had a nice chill day yesterday, complete with a kick-ass dinner that my father-in-law and I made (ok, really he did most of the work, but I made a really, really good ham). Also got to Skype with my parents so they could see the boy open his presents.

It’s been a quiet season, but I’m spending a lot of time practicing, learning new tunes, and writing a lot.

Maggie and I are getting ready for the arrival of our baby girl, she’s due on March 15, though my dad says he thinks our little Irish kiddo will be here on St. Patrick’s day.

We’re also planning our eventual cross-country road trip to sunny California! At this point (unless the house sells fast) we’re not going to leave until after the baby arrives, But that means even more time to plan for an epic journey! We want to stop at a ton of cool places along the way, including the birthplace of the Dave Matthews Band in Charlottesville, Virginia.

So, two things I need from you all; first – suggestions of new tunes to learn; second – suggestions of places to visit on the way from New England to SoCal!

Getting Ducks in a Row

We’re officially in the planning/booking stage of the upcoming tour, trying to figure out our official path across the country, where we’ll stop so I can play, to do some good, or just to get a good stretch before piling back into the car (or whatever vehicle we end up using) and hitting the road again.

I would seriously love nothing more than for it to take us months to get all the way to California because I’ve got so many places to entertain.

*note to my wonderful duck-herding wife: we’re going to need a lot of strings and picks for the road. Probably a few capos too, oh, and batteries”

If you my loyal fans/friends have any ideas or requests for places we should stop on the way, let me know; this is a great chance for me to swing out to play somewhere near where you are, instead of making you come out to me. Also, if you’re interested in hosting a living room show, I would definitely love to make that happen, so get at me!

As always, thank you so much for the love and support!


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