On tour in CA with Hopi BluesBand!

In November, I'll be opening for Hopi BluesBand on their tour of California. This will be my first tour where I'm backed by a full band, so I'm very excited about that! Let's rock.


Daniel Johnston, 1961-2019

(Photo: At the Daniel Johnston mural in Austin, TX on September 29, 2019.)


This past September 11th, Daniel Johnston passed away at the age of 58 at his home in Waller, Texas. He spent a lifetime creating music and art that was entirely his own. In a world clamoring for authenticity, Daniel's work is a glimmering beacon of refuge and beautiful release. He's had a powerful influence on me as a songwriter, and I'd like to try and explain why.

As shown in the 2006 documentary film, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Daniel struggled for most of his adult life with various forms of mental illness. Sometimes in our culture, we tend to romanticize suffering and illness when it comes to the artist. No-one provides more of a reality check on that myth than Daniel Johnston. He created, he sang, he made his art...despite his illness. And you can hear that struggle in his music. He lets you into his world, fully and unconditionally. With a raw honesty, a heartfelt need for connection.

Encountering his homemade tape albums is like stepping into someone's private universe. Boundless imagination. One great song after another, often sung in a fragile, earnest voice. Banging away on a cheap guitar or an old chord organ. Songs about unrequited love for his real-life muse Laurie. Or about the loneliness and alienation he feels as someone trying to make art in an ugly world. The ghosts and demons in his head. Songs about growing old. Dreams of fame, dreams of acceptance. There's a kind of child-like intimacy combined with a timeless wisdom in his lyrics. It's undeniable. I've never heard anything like it.

His songs have been covered by artists such as Beck, Lana Del Rey, Wilco, and Tom Waits. Kurt Cobain famously wore a t-shirt featuring his art. Despite his brushes with fame, he seems to have never really risen to a level of wider acceptance. But maybe that's how it should be. Maybe his work remains as a kind of buried treasure, lurking there just beneath the surface. For those who need it. For the rest of us with our own broken dreams, trying to make a path out of our own sorrow and heartache. Trying to find beauty in the chaos and noise of this brief, humbling life. Those of us who want to choose music over darkness, every chance we get.

Thank you, Daniel. You will be missed.



Summer Cross-Country Tour!

I'm embarking on my first cross-country tour this month. Lots of new cities I've never played before. Albuquerque! Boulder! Chicago! And a few places I've not played in years, like New York. All of the show details can be found here.

The journey ends with a hometown show in Somerville, MA on August 1. The great Dan Blakeslee will be sharing the stage with me that night. It will take place at The Center for Arts at the Armory, in the cafe space. This is where I had my last show in Boston before moving to L.A., seven years ago. My apartment was around the corner on Hudson Street. This should be a great night!

I hope to see some of you out there on the road! And if you have friends in any of the cities I'm playing, I'd appreciate you very much spreading the word. Thanks!


On the Road in California!

James will be playing a run of shows in California this June. See the Live Shows page for all the venue information.


Spring tour!

I'm hitting the road out West, in April. Full show details here. I hope to see you out there!


On tour in Germany!

James will be on tour in Germany for a few dates in September and most of October. See below for dates and venues. More information on each show is available on the Live Show Calendar page.


Album Release!

The new album "The Wheel Still In Spin," will be released on 9/21/18. It will be available for sale at CDBaby, Amazon, etc. and for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, etc.


If you are in the L.A. area, join us for the Album Release Show at Hotel Cafe on Saturday, 9/22.


Little Pink House in theaters!

Little Pink House will be in theaters starting next month! The movie features songs by myself and the great David Crosby. Don’t miss this amazing and important film! Starring Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn, directed by Courtney Balaker. A must see!


On the Road in February

"If I can just get off of this L.A. freeway 
Without getting killed or caught 
I'd be down that road in a cloud of smoke..."


I'm headed out of town for a few shows this month. My first time playing in these cities! Hope to see you out there.


When I return, work resumes on the new album. I'm hoping for a release sometime in late 2018. Stay tuned!


On Tour in Germany, May 2017

I'm pleased to announce that I will be on tour throughout the month of May in Germany! The tour has been organized by the good people at Songs & Whispers, and I'm excited for this opportunity. Full speed ahead!


"Home" in Girl Trip

I'm pleased to announce that my song "Home" will be featured in the upcoming movie Girl Trip, directed by Catherine Black. Stay tuned for film release details!

Little Pink House world premiere

On Thursday, February 2, 2017, the film Little Pink House will premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. James wrote and recorded the song "Going Home (for Thanksgiving)," which is featured in the film. The soundtrack also features an original song from the one and only David Crosby.


The movie, directed by Courtney Balaker, tells the story of small-town nurse Susette Kelo who emerges as the reluctant leader of her working-class neighbors in their struggle to save their homes from political and corporate interests bent on seizing the land and handing it over to Pfizer Corporation. Susette's battle goes all the way to the US Supreme Court and the controversial 5-4 decision in Kelo vs. City of New London. The film stars Catherine Keener, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Callum Keith Rennie.


Vinyl Release Show 9/30/16

Reviews for Multitudes!

The new album Multitudes is slated for release as a CD and digital download on April 15, 2016. 

Reviews are beginning to come in! Here is a sample of what the critics are saying:

"Houlahan’s gravely voice is a bit like Dr. John’s; and the atmospheric Multitudes often takes you down roads that seem as enigmatic and just plain weird as anything the good doctor has delivered...Houlahan seems to be on to something original and noteworthy."

-Jeff Burger, No Depression. Read the full review here.

"James Houlahan kicks off the new CD with 'Fires Of Mercy,' a song with a very cool vibe, like a twisted, dark, personal carnival populated by ghosts, by apparitions. It’s a carnival where we are both barker and mark, and sounds like a delightful, lonesome waltz into hell."

-Michael Doherty's Music Log. Read the full review here.

"If you like Tom Waits, Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt, then chances are big you will become a fan of James Houlahan."

-Mr. Blue Boogie. Read the full review here.


New Album Available April 2016

We are pleased to announce the new album will be available on CD and via digital download in April 2016. A vinyl release will follow in May.

Multitudes is the third full­-length album from Houlahan, featuring some of the best session musicians L.A. has to offer, including Fernando Perdomo (Linda Perhacs, Jakob Dylan) on bass and Danny Frankel (Lou Reed, k.d. lang) on percussion. It was recorded at Veneto West studios in Santa Monica, CA and was produced by Houlahan and Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson, Steve Morse, Nels Cline).

The album features 10 songs rooted in a dark Americana sound. They address themes of love and death, darkness and light, fire and water, rivers flowing into the sea. Rooted in a tradition, but not bound by it. Music for the heart.

Album on the way...

The Kickstarter campaign was a success! Hooray! Thank you to all the backers who are making this release possible. I am so grateful for your support!

Now I'm working on making the album available digitally, on CD, and vinyl. In the meantime, check out the amazing artwork for the cover by Dan Blakeslee.

Kickstarting Multitudes

Today saw the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for Mulltitudes. All of the support provided will go to help release the new album! There are a whole bunch of cool rewards. I hope you'll consider supporting this project.

New album in progress...

Recording has begun for the new album! James went in to the studio with drummer Mike Gattshall and bassist Fernando Perdomo recently to lay down some tracks. The recording is being produced with Ronan Chris Murphy at Veneto West studio in Santa Monica, CA. Stay tuned for updates! Also, James will be blogging about the experience here.

First music video released!

James has released his first music video, ever. It's for the song New World Blues from the album "misfit hymns." Check it out!

May, it please(s)!

Wow. Lots of great stuff going on. First, I should mention that I've decided to write a few more songs before beginning pre-production on the next album. But based on what I've got so far, and the excellent people I have met out here in L.A., I'm very much looking forward to putting my shoulder to that particular wheel, when the time comes. In the meantime, a whole lotta things are going on! This month, especially. I'll be playing once solo and once with my band this month at the weekly series "Shmaqulin" in downtown L.A., sharing the bill with some really great bands like the mighty Blind Owl and the always-explosive Letters Home. Also, I'll be returning on May 10th to TopTune, The Songwriters Game, where I'll be paired with another songwriter to write a song in 17 minutes and perform it on the spot for a packed theater! I did this once before, and it was both terrifying and exhilarating. I can't wait to do it again!

In other good news, it's been announced that the short film "Wind Song" (featuring some of my tunes) will have its festival debut at The Duluth Superior Film Festival later this month. I'm so happy for everyone involved in that project! And I really like the thought of my songs ringing through theater speakers in Bob Dylan's hometown...

And, finally, the first edition of the album series "Locals Covering Locals" is nearing its release. This is a compilation album where Boston-based singer/songwriters cover a song of their choice, organized by the folks at Red Line Roots. I am thrilled and honored that the wonderful Dan Blakeslee covered one of my songs for this project. Dan is a huge inspiration to me and a magnificent talent. I hope some day to write songs as good as his! (Check out his new album project here.) He's also a fabulous visual artist too, a fact made plain by the artwork he's put together for the album, below. I can't wait to hear the whole album! So, lots of stuff going on! I'm excited for what lies ahead.



A November...to remember...!

It looks like 2013 is far from over, if this current month is any proof. Following the L.A. premiere of the film, "Wind Song," we are pleased to announce the release of a new Houlahan song, "With You Gone," written expressly for the film! The song is available here and at your favorite digital music retailer/service. Produced by Ryan Rapsys, the song explores themes from the film such as grief and loss, mourning and hope.

James will also be making his debut this month at one of the best rooms in L.A. for singer/songwriters: Room 5 Lounge. Thursday, November 21, James will sharing the stage with Pat Dowd for an intimate evening of song in one of the best venues around. Also, James will be joined by his band for an electrifying set at Rafa's Art Lounge Gallery in Echo Park on November 29! They will be following the last performance of the Friday-night November residency of the rock opera FEAL! This is an event not to be missed! Please see the Live Show Calendar for all the details.

Movie music & local shows

I spent yesterday with composer Ryan Rapsys recording music for the short film "Wind Song." (You can watch a brief trailer here: http://youtu.be/Ih-VULfIhoQ) It will feature a new original song ("With You Gone") and perhaps a couple of other tunes of mine. I have to say, one of the reasons I wanted to move out west was to explore how I could integrate my music and songs with movies. So I'm totally excited to be a part of this project! Working in the area of film is a totally new, challenging, and exhilarating experience!

Speaking of exhilaration, recent shows with my band (Erik Kristiansen on guitar, T-Roy on drums, and Dave Leggett on bass) have been awesome, face-melting celebrations. The more we play, the more we are connecting musically, and it's really thrilling to see it all develop on stage. We will be at Molly Malone's on Tuesday, July 23. I'll also be playing an intimate solo show later that week at Cafeina Galeria in Silver Lake. I have the pleasure of sharing the stage with two of the most exceptionally talented songwriters and performers I've heard since moving to L.A.: Kail Baxley and Derek Carter. This will be a small, friendly show so please show up early for this one to guarantee admission. See you out there!

On the Road in May!

I've been having fun playing a lot of local shows here in L.A., recently. For example, the other night I had the privilege of playing the 77Live music series at the Seventy7 Lounge in Culver City. It was a really great night! Such a cool room, with great sound, and awesome support from Deron and everyone at 77Live.

But, I gotta say...I am itching to get back out on the road for my next tour! Next month I will be cruising out to Denver and back, playing shows in Santa Fe, Salt Lake City, Portland, and other stops including a show at the fabulous Hotel Utah in San Francisco. I'm very excited for these shows! And to get to see much of the American west for the first time... For more info on the shows, please visit the Live Show Calendar.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Been traveling a lot this past month, and am happy to be in one place for awhile. But I gotta say last year was AMAZING! Released a new album, got radio airplay on over 100 stations, relocated out West, played all over L.A., got a band together, played my first solo tour...and I want 2013 to be even better! My head is filled with new songs, new arrangements, new sounds...and I'm busy planning new gigs, new tours, a new album, and other new opportunities for my music. Here's to the New! [clink of glasses all around] :-)

Solo tour and HOB band residency!

Some exciting shows are on the horizon! Next month, James will be grabbing his guitar and heading North out of L.A. for a solo acoustic tour. He will be performing a number of shows in the Central Coast and San Francisco Bay area...check the Live Show Calendar for details. This will be Houlahan's first tour in the state, and it promises to be filled with adventure!

Also, last month's band show in the Foundation Room at the House of Blues in L.A. was a smashing success! The band will be returning there for a monthly residency starting early next year. Stay tuned for more details... If you want to catch James with the band in the meantime, they will be performing December 15 at Busby's East. (Check the Live Show Calendar for more info.)

Two cool L.A. shows on deck!

James will be performing a couple of special shows in the next few weeks. He will be making his debut at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood on Thursday, August 23rd. James will be playing a solo acoustic set in the Voodoo Lounge starting at 7pm. This will be a great evening of music in a spectacular venue, not to be missed. Special advance tickets are available, please email jahoulah (at) gmail for details on getting these.

Also, since the full band show from last June was a great success, it's happening again! Houlahan will once again be joined by T-Roy (Uniform Standard) on drums, Josh Gonzalez (Mary J. Blige) on acoustic bass, and Bill Scott (Van Nuys Music Corporation) on guitar.  The show will be happening September 19th at Molly Malone's. Don't miss this rare full band show! Advance tickets will be available...stay tuned for more details.

For more information on these, and all other shows, please visit the Live Show Calendar page.

First full band show in L.A.! Website updated, too...

So, the first full band show since relocating to Los Angeles will be Tuesday, June 19, at Busby's Mile High Club (5364 Wilshire Blvd.)! Save the date. More information will be available shortly.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, the website here has been tweaked and updated. Hope you like it! Feel free to leave a comment or offer some feedback.

New videos! Radio play! First L.A. show!

Three awesome bits of news for you! The new album "misfit hymns" is getting some airplay on college radio, including CRAM in Toronto, Ontario...where it is #18 on their Top 30 this week! Thank you, Canada!

Also, brand spankin' new videos have been released today of several songs from the new album. They were produced by DeSant Productions in Somerville, MA. Here is the video for "Ben Riley":

James Houlahan - Ben Riley from DeSant Productions on Vimeo.

First Review for "misfit hymns"

The first review of the new album is up, courtesy of UNregular Radio. You can read it here: http://www.unregularradio.com/news/item/291-pay-day-advice-james-houlahan-misfit-hymns.

"misfit hymns" now available in the U.S.

The release show last Friday was an unqualified success! With opening sets by Audrey Ryan (http://audreyryan.com/) and Little War Twins (http://littlewartwins.com/), James debuted many of the tunes off the new album "misfit hymns." It was truly a wonderful, joyful evening of music. The new album is now available online through CD Baby. Please check out the Buy section of this website or visit http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jameshoulahan.

"misfit hymns" shall be released...

The new album is on the launchpad. Engines are beginning to fire, smoke is beginning to curl out from among the gears and boosters, and the pilot's eye is fixed on the wide expanse of blue above him. In plain English, the new record "misfit hymns" is being shot off into the universe, released now on bandcamp (http://jameshoulahan.bandcamp.com/album/misfit-hymns) and soon to be on CD Baby, iTunes, etc.

The show celebrating the release will be January 27, 2012, Friday, at PA's Lounge in Somerville. James will be joined by multiple guests, and will have a full band backing him up for much of the night. Also, Audrey Ryan and Little War Twins will be playing sets of their own. Check out their music here http://www.audreyryan.org/ and here http://www.reverbnation.com/littlewartwins! This night promises to be truly great! If you are in the area, be there.

Also, this website will be undergoing some much-needed changing, updating, etc. very soon. Check back for something new!

New Album finished, Release show booked!

The second full-length record, "Misfit Hymns," is now done! A CD release show has been booked for Friday, January 27, 2012 at PA's Lounge in Somerville, MA. (Lineup to be determined...). Featuring nine original tunes and a cover of "Wandering Angus" (a Yeats poem put to music), the music will soon be available for digital download and CDs for purchase will follow soon after. As a follow-up to "Seven Years Now," the new album takes a turn into character-based songs, pictures that suggest narrative, and just plain storytelling. Musically, the acoustic base of the former record is present along with a few variations and a bit of sonic experimentation. Stay tuned for more info!


I am pleased to report that work on a follow-up record to Seven Years Now has begun! The album is being recorded in Newburyport with Tom Eaton, just like the first one. For more info and commentary, etc., please check out my blog at http://jameshoulahan.blogspot.com/

DoTV to play Japan benefit show

Dogs on Television will join a whole host of other local acts such as Kristen Ford Band, Will Dailey, and The Day's Weight to help raise money for reconstruction efforts in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The show is Sunday, April 17 and will run from 2pm to 1am at Precinct in Union Square, Somerville. DoTV will play a set at approx. 6:00pm. For more info, click on Calendar.

Neil Young Tribute Show

James has the good fortune of performing as a part of a Neil Young tribute show next month, organized by For the Sake of the Song. Here is the info: "For the Sake of the Song brings together local musicians to perform their own material and pay tribute to the songwriters who have influenced them. In our March edition singer/songwriters Brendan Hogan, James Houlahan, and the instrumental duo Flightless Buttress perform Neil Young classics as well as discuss his influence on their own material www.forthesakeofthesong.com for more info." The show is March 19 in Somerville. Hope you can make it!

Vote Dogs!

Dogs on Television is up for Band of the Month at The Deli (Boston) Magazine website. Please visit the link below and exercise some democratic authority! Vote DOGS. http://boston.thedelimagazine.com/

Interview with Jennifer Pickrell

James had the pleasure of doing an interview with Jennifer Pickrell on her blog. They discussed DoTV and what's going on with the band. You can read it here.

Dogs on Television review!

The Noise reviewed the DoTV CD. I am quite pleased with their results. Also, our friend Kristen Miller got a pretty sweet write-up too. Read all about it here: http://www.thenoise-boston.com/content/blogcategory/3/17/ And...DoTV will be returning to the stage with our new drummer Andrew, this Thursday at the Cantab lounge in Cambridge, MA. It will be off the hook, yo.

Dogs on Television album!

For those of you who don't know, awhile back James put together a little garage rock band called Dogs on Television. Its a fun, sorta loud, uptempo kinda sound... Anyway, they made a record. You can buy it on CD Baby...just click below.

Dogs On Television: Dogs On Television

Thrasher's Wheat post

There is a nice write-up on Thrasher's Wheat. Check out the link below... Thrasher's site is the #1 site for all things Neil Young. http://neilyoungnews.thrasherswheat.org/2010/04/looking-forward-to-getting-married.html

"Seven Years Now" get its first review

Courtesy of the May 2009 issue of The Noise: "This is such a great album—full of bittersweet lamentations and twanging guitars. There are a lot of good songs here, so let me name some highlights. “Paper Man” is so beautiful and plaintive—Houlahan is backed by an unnamed female vocalist who adds a haunting dimension. “Rocketship” is another really beautiful track…this is a great album chock full of melancholy but nostalgic tracks and I’d highly recommend it." A note from James: I am pleased to hear they liked it...for the record (ha ha), that unnamed vocalist is Kristen Cifelli. She is named in the credits, but there is a typo regarding the track number for Paper Man...so I understand the confusion. Needless to say, I fired my entire editorial staff because of the mistake! I can't tolerate mistakes like that...Ms. Cifelli has an amazingly beautiful voice. She is definitely on her way to big things! I am so pleased she could be a part of the record.

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