Teenage singer-songwriter Timothy James makes County Fair debut
On Tuesday, Aug. 14 on the Rodeo Roadway stage, 16-year-old Timothy James let his long, curly, red locks hang over his face as he strummed away on his guitar and belted the words of an original song. These were his first moments as a booked musician at the Clackamas County Fair.
He returned Saturday night, this time to the main stage with his full band, including Quinton Wiltshire (of Canby) on drums, Noah Rozzell on rhythm guitar and Todd Omert subbing in on bass.
James, who is from Mulino and attends Molalla High School, has become somewhat of a local staple. But recognition is not his aim.
"I just want to put my music out there for people to enjoy," James said. "It's not about being famous. It's not about money or anything. I just want to make people happy. Don't we all, right?"
James developed his love of music and first picked up a guitar when he was a young kid. He grew up listening to his dad, James Wong, play at the Mulino Blues Festival. One year, James asked his dad if he could join.
"I said, 'Okay,' " Wong said. "So I got him up, and he got hooked. He's learned everything he can about guitar and the gear. Once I saw his natural talent and going after that guitar, I said, 'We're going to run with this.' I taught him everything I know in 15 minutes…so I had to get outside help. So he's had some lessons from really good players."
Now James is taking his music to stages across the Portland metro area. He recently played the Waterfront Blues Festival and Cathedral Park Festival.
He's also taking his music to the studio. Last year, he teamed up with his guitar teacher Ken Brewer, of Oregon City, to record his first album titled "Love=Chaos." James wrote every song on the album, sang lead vocals and played guitar. The pop-style album was released in June 2017.
To listen to his album "Love=Chaos," visit his website at timothyjamesmusic.com, or look him up on iTunes or Spotify.
The 16-year-old now heads into his junior year of high school. Though he is uncertain about exactly what his future holds, he knows it will involve music—whether he will be a full-time musician, teach music or hold down a day job and play music in the evenings.
"I'm not trying to grow up too fast," James said. "Just trying to live and enjoy the music while I'm young."
James pinpointed exactly what it is he enjoys about music.
"I love the way it's just universal," he said. "No matter what kind of music you play, it can reach someone somewhere."
In the coming months, James will have the opportunity to reach "someones" in the local area with upcoming gigs as follows:
Sept. 7 from 7-9 p.m. at Lumberjack Grill in Molalla
Sept. 12 from 8-11 p.m. at McMenamins White Eagle Saloon and Hotel in Portland
Sept. 20 from 4-6 p.m. at the Molalla Farmers Market in Molalla
Sept. 22 from 6-8 p.m. for Celebrate Molalla at Fox Park in Molalla
It's unclear whether James will be sporting long locks next time you see him on stage.
"It's sort of my signature thing, but also, I'm debating cutting it because it gets hot and it's hard to take care of."