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…

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