“For those who had never seen Otis Redding or Aretha Franklin perform, go to a concert of Bruce James and Bella Black – this is the best option to close your eyes and go back to pure American sound whose songs echo to this day, for connoisseurs and non-connoisseurs alike. Bruce with his street poetry - "past tense is no more than last night's wine" - Bella with her voice that tears thoughts and frees the mind of the listener.”
Voci di Citta - Bologna IT
"Guerrilla Soul is the recipe that Bruce James and Bella Black have mixed together in their Texan Sound Kitchen: A deep-fried, inside still pink, filet of New Orleans Soul à la Dr. John, soaked in a marinade of clubby R&B and organ heavy ZZ Top cover versions; with a pinch of hip-hop and the whole thing served on the funky beats of DJ Phil Ross.”
Zeit.de - Hamburg DE
"With voices reinforced by concrete saws, earning the duo much respect and reminding us of the origins of soul music the church! Bruce James is perhaps one of the most colorful artists from Austin. Behind his music, brewed from an original mix of Soul, New Orleans R & B and blues lies a musical career that spans over twenty years. Consistency is his penchant for the musical roots of American music. As a pianist/ singer of the legendary band Tunji he shared the stage with Bernie Worrell, Jurassic5 and other giants of the music world. Bella Black is a woman with a story and has a voice among the most poignant in contemporary southern soul who actually says it all." Muziekhuis.nl - Leiden NL
“a piano man that can swing and croon like Dr. John, or growl and stomp like Tom Waits.”
The Austin Chronicle - Austin TX USA
"For here are two musicians at the beginning of their breakthrough. One that we give them wholeheartedly." Rootstime.be - Belgium
James & Black
Bruce James and Bella Black joined musical forces in Austin, Texas in 2011 and have been on a mission spreading the word of Guerrilla Soul ever since. The roots of their music definitely spring from the tradition of the Southern Soul from Texas, New Orleans and Memphis, yet they are not a throwback. The foundation of James & Black is the voices and stories in their songs. For this duo though, it is all about the musical canvas being the dirt for the flowers, so to speak – fertile soil for the tune itself to grow.
Since relocating to Europe in the summer of 2012, James & Black have laid a foundation in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Slovakia, Bulgaria France playing close to 150 shows per year and covering over 700,000km in the process.
They have supported Gregory Porter and Fatoumata Diawara in Leiden at Summer Jazz, Candy Dulfer in Amsterdam at Vondel Park, performed at the Porretta Soul Festival twice now in Porretta Terme, Italy along side artists such as Bobby Rush and Lattimore, performed at the Enclave de Agua in Soria, Spain along side Lee Fields and Nikki Hill, performed at the Barcelona International Jazz Festival, and have supported New Yorkers', the Slackers, throughout Germany and Austria. In April of 2017 they performed at the Baltic Soul Weekender with Sister Sledge and Lenny Williams near Hamburg, Germany as well as a tribute to Allen Toussaint at the Porretta Soul Festival.
The duo released their second studio album, 'This Time', in July 2017 with release shows at La Chapelle des Lombards in Paris FR, the Peer Blues festival along side fellow Texans, ZZ Top, and tours in Italy, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Belgium and the Netherlands.
James & Black are currently working on a new project to be released later this year.