Brent James & the Righteous Hillbillies Brent James & the Righteous Hillbillies formed in 2007 by lead singer/songwriter Brent James as a rock ‘n’ roll band who helped launch a revival of the Southern spirit of blues boogie, soul groove, along with the primal and visceral energy of rock ‘n’ roll power. Their hometown of Joliet, Illinois is not the likeliest headquarters for one of America’s best Southern Rock bands, but Righteous Hillbillies put the map of convention in the shredder a long time ago. With every Allman Brothers or Stax-Volt style lick, and impassioned and intense shout in a mode and method similar to Chris Robinson, Righteous Hillbillies are an axe shredding, ace dealing demonstration of Southern Rock vitality and the value of authenticity. After a recent live performance at a music festival, music critic David Masciotra, author of Mellencamp: American Troubadour, said, “Righteous Hillbillies stole the show. Their high level of skill, energy, and intensity will make anyone dance in one moment, and then knock the wind out of them the next.”
The lineup of Righteous Hillbillies consists of Brent James, a singer and songwriter bringing together such seemingly disparate elements as hard rock, country, with rhythm and blues to form an unforgettable style. Also keeping the rhythm on guitar, James is a charismatic but commanding front man, steering the Southern Rock ship to conquer new territory at every concert. On lead guitar is Andy Ross, who has played with Eat a Peach, Cooper's Grove and Alex Hoffer Band. Andy is a great addition to the band adding soul and melody into every note he plays. Jeff Bella pours the foundation on the bass, knowing when to inject color and character into the music, behind Bella is Barret Harvey – a thunderous powerhouse whose drumming ability is steady as a pulse, but equally dynamic. Trained in rock ‘n’ roll and jazz, Harvey adds a unique ingredient to the Hillbillies tonic.
Righteous Hillbillies released their first record of original, instant classics in 2008. They followed up their self-titled debut with a stunning sophomore effort, Trece Diablos, in 2012. Like a brilliant poker player, they upped the ante in 2015. Righteous Hillbillies who threw all their talent in a bag and took it to Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, showing that they can stand in the same studio as the legends who made Muscle Shoals famous: Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bob Seger. Citing all of those icons as influence, Righteous Hillbillies’ new record, The Muscle Shoals Sessions, explores all the high points of American music, from rock to rhythm and blues. The songwriting shines like a new diamond, and the performances are flawless.
Guest musicians on the album include keyboards provided by Danny Louis from Gov’t Mule and Larry Byrom from Steppenwolf. It was produced by Craig Bishop of New York Noize, who has worked with David Byrne, BB King, Rosanne Cash, Joan Osborne, and Shawn Colvin. It was engineered by John Gifford III (Fame Studios) and mastered by Fred Kevorkian of Kevorkian Mastering, who has worked with Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, The White Stripes, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Trey Anastasio, and more.
In 2016 Righteous Hillbillies released their fourth album "Two Wheels Down a Lost Highway". The album was recorded in their hometown of Joliet, IL at Third City Sound, produced by lead singer Brent James and mixed by John Gifford and Brent James at FAME studio in Muscle Shoals AL.
In 2017 the Band released "Playing with Fire", which included a feature in RELIX magazine for "Bound for Change" a ballad that one first place in the RELIX magazines songwriting contest.
Today, in addition to the traditional rock n roll shows that the band is known for, Brent has added solo acoustic shows as well as duo and trio acoustic shows with Andy Ross and Jeff Bella. Brent is currently working on his first solo record set for release in 2021.