Once a month, Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center, a beautiful not-for-profit park right in Johns Creek, makes a magical transformation into a beautiful concert setting, to host our Unplugged series, featuring offering intimate concerts inside the (air conditioned) Old Warsaw Church by some of the Atlanta area’s finest musicians. Gorgeous park setting, an intimate, candlelit concert environment, wonderful acoustics and a chance to make a difference by helping to support this beautiful place that is Autrey Mill- come on out!
To help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Autrey Mill Unplugged is so excited to welcome to our stage, local favorite James Locher, (also known as “Seamus O’Jams”), on Saturday, March 18th. Along with a few friends, James will be performing a fun selection of Irish pub songs. Tickets are $12, or $9 for Autrey Mill members or John’s Creek residents. Seats are limited, so please purchase your tickets early by going to: http://www.autreymill.org.
The festivities begin at 7PM with a pre-show social gathering in the Summerour House,with light refershments, then walk next door to the Old Warsaw Church for the concert at 8PM. The church doors open at 7:30.
James Locher aka Seamus O’Jams is a multi instrumentalist/vocalist based in Georgia but grew up in Michigan. He sings and plays mandolin, guitar, ukulele, harmonica, and keyboards. With widely eclectic musical taste, he’s comfortable in many styles. James loves the sound of steel strings on an acoustic instrument accompanying a meaningful song lyric with a pleasant melody and harmony.
From James: My name is James Locher, but along the way I was given the name Dr. Jams, as I am a doctor as well as a musician, and I love to “jam” with other musicians. I have been influenced by so many genres of music, but I am drawn in particular to acoustic guitar based songs.
Let me tell you about my musical history. I began playing drums, bass guitar, electric guitar and singing in my very early teens. A few years later I began to attend coffee house performances and was introduced to the singer-songwriter solo performance style. By the time I was 17 I was fingerpicking and flat picking a beautiful sunburst Gibson J 45, singing Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Carter family, John Prine and the Rolling Stones. I played bass guitar and lead vocals in a rock’n roll band in high school. I also played drums in a blues band that morphed into a country band when the lead guitarist found we could get more jobs playing country. I spent some time learning to play lap dulcimer and autoharp, digging into the Appalachian mountain sounds.
I picked up harmonica after hearing Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee at the Raven Gallery in Detroit. Later, my appreciation of early jazz and piano prompted me to buy a Rhodes electric piano. Just as I taught myself to play drums and guitar, I proceeded to teach myself to play the piano. As a name for a style of acoustic guitar is “folk guitar”, I subsequently named my keyboard style “folk piano”.
My favorite gig in that era in Michigan was as a solo performer opening for an old blues man from Atlanta named Piano Red.
I moved to the Atlanta area in late 1982 to complete my professional studies, and decided to stay here. I attended many concert performances and continued to play often. I sought out local musicians through the South East Bluegrass Association and Atlanta Area Friends of Folk Music. I frequented and performed at the local coffee houses, like the Hungry Ear and Lena’s. A church in Crabapple began a monthly coffeehouse called the Respite, and after running the sound for a few months, I assumed the host performer position, meeting many of the wonderful local acoustic artists.
Professional duties and raising a family has taken up much of my time over the past years, but I never stopped playing. Along the way I picked up the mandolin and for a while it became my primary instrument as I played at open mics and with the band ESOEBO, which, by the way, I was first attracted to after reading that their name stands for Eclectic Selections Of Everything But Opera.
More recently, I’ve been performing solo and in various bands, including the John Godwin and Friends band, attempting to perfect my music skills and harmony singing abilities. I I have recently taken up an interest in the banjo, and may begin to assault the public’s ears soon.
I am a founding member of a group of local musicians that call ourselves the Stone Soup Song Circle. This is an assemblage of diverse musical tastes and talents that gathers together regularly to share acoustic songs. It was early in the history of the Stone Soup that I was introduced to my friend and very talented musician Don McCall. Don and I have teamed up over the years in various musical formations to perform in the North Fulton area. For many months we were the weekly Sunday performers at the Nine Street Kitchen in Roswell. Don will be performing some of our favorite songs with me, along with support from Autrey Mill’s own very talented Celia McDermott. I am hoping some of the “Soupers” might also show up to help me Saturday night.
Finally, let me say that I am very pleased to be selected as a performer in the Autrey Mill Unplugged Acoustic Music Series. I have attended several of the shows myself, and am thoroughly humbled by the quality of musicianship and the enthusiasm of the audiences. Although I was not the first performer in series, I believe I may have been the first musician to actually play at the Autrey Mill. I live just a few miles from the site, and have been walking the trails and enjoying the development from the start. I have occasionally brought my guitar or a ukulele to the site and sat on a picnic table and played for my own enjoyment. Autrey Mill is an awesome asset to the community. Your attendance can only help ensure its success and longevity. Please come and join us.