James was born in Bredbury, Stockport in July 1984. With three older brothers, all of whom were musicians, it was expected that James play. Starting on Tuba, James tried many different instruments before settling on baritone. His first band was the Stockport Schools Intermediate band where he played for 2 years before promotion to the Stockport Schools Senior Band. It was here that he started to the get the contest bug with numerous contest wins including the National Youth Entertainment Championships of Great Britain and the National Youth Championships of Great Britain and even managed an appearance on Blue Peter!
While at Stockport Schools James was invited to take part in a European Youth Brass Band put together for the European Brass Band Championships held in Bergen, Norway 2003. James went out for 8 days of playing and socialising, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
James first became associated with Besses Boys Band when he accepted the position of Solo Baritone with the band in early 2002. Since then James' playing career has seen him play with Besses O' Th' Barn, United Co-op Milnrow, The BT Band and Leyland Band to name but a few.
James studied Music at the University of Salford. It was here that he was given the opportunity to work with some of the banding world's most prominent personalities such as Roy Newsome, David King and Peter Graham as well as recieving tuition from Peter Christian and Billy Millar.
James was appointed to the Musical Director position with Besses Boys in January 2005 and during his tenure with the band there has been considerable progress made culminating in many contest successes, including successive regional titles and three consecutive national final appearances meaning that for the first time in their history the band now competes in the 2nd Section.