James Conway



James Conway is an active musician in the Chicago music scene. He plays in several formats but mainly solo acoustic and with his Celtic power trio, The Boils. Heavily influenced by acoustic greats such as Neil Young, Merle Travis, Bo Carter, and Mississippi Fred McDowell, James uses fingerpicking, slide guitar, rack-harmonica, and a variety of tunings to perform tasty renditions of songs from the folk and country blues genres. In the Celtic scene, Conway plays the traditional dance music of Ireland on tin whistles and harmonicas. Playing the fast-tempo reels and jigs on the mouth harp isn’t  a common or easy feat but James does it convincingly using advanced techniques he learned from local blues/jazz harp heroes such as Junior Wells, Sugar Blue, and Howard Levy. James Conway uses Hohner Special 20 and Crossover diatonics, XB-40s, CX-12 chromatics, and Vinetta harmonicas.  His CD, "Mouth Box" features the traditional dance music of Ireland played on harmonica, accompanied by some of the world's finest traditional musicians.


"When I'm playing traditional Irish music, only Hohner harmonicas give me the warm tone, rich chords, and sweet bends that make my audience tell me that it sounded like I was playing a big accordion or a fiddle."


The Boils