Clinton musician James W. King, whose set opens the band stage this weekend at the Ogden Arts Festival, got his musical start playing at the acoustic nights at Ogden's Mojos Caffe & Gallery. He even met his wife, Megan, at the club.
As a child, King started out as a trumpet player, an instrument he still pulls out now and again. But mostly, you will see him now with guitar in hand. He learned to play on a $30 guitar his older brother sent home while serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It became King's passion. While working at Music Village in Ogden, he met a co-worker who left to teach guitar at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. The co-worker eventually coaxed King, newly married, into coming to study music at the school.
"We packed up the Honda Civic and we took off," said King. He earned his associate's degree in music, studying many kinds of music and their origins.
King was in seventh grade when he went to a talent show, and saw the fun the rock outfit that closed the night was having.
"They went crazy, and I just thought, 'I want to do that,' " said King.
Soon after, his brother sent home the guitar. "I had no idea what I was doing. I'd try to tune it to what I thought sounded good." King laughed. "And then I got really into writing songs. It was a release for me during junior high and high school. And we had our own band by the ninth-grade talent show."
King said he draws musically from a huge list of influences. "I draw a lot from my band experiences with the trumpet -- jazz band and classical stuff, but also from contemporary pop rock and stuff. Now, especially after taking those college courses, where they show you the culture of music, the American roots and history of it, I love it all."
He points to Goo Goo Dolls and Lifehouse as two bands that he admires and thinks have shaped him, but also to artists produced by David Foster, like Chicago, Josh Groban and Celine Dion.
Family was only part of the reason the Kings returned to Northern Utah after he finished his degree at South Plains College.
"Also, one of the things I wanted to do, and feel strongly about, is coming back to Ogden and helping to cultivate the music scene here. Because I feel there is a lot of talent that is just hovering here. If I can help bring a community, a culture of music here, help create a scene, that would be great."
King wants to do that by fostering relationships with other musicians, and combining forces with them to put on shows and otherwise work together.
"A lot of it is just going to be building friendships, setting up shows with other musicians, creating a camaraderie among other musicians, instead of making it all competitive. Just setting things up to create cool things in a cool atmosphere. Eventually, I'd like to open up a venue or a theater-type of thing, too, for people to play. That would be pretty sweet."
- WHO: James W. King Band
- WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 9
- WHERE: Ogden Arts Festival band stage, Lincoln Ave. and Historic 25th Street, Ogden
- ADMISSION: Free. For information, go to www.ogdenartsfestival.com.
Festival attracts talented, diverse array of performers
More than 80 musical acts applied for the 20 openings at the Ogden Arts Festival this Saturday, June 9.
Music committee chairman Ron Atencio said the talent level was high, so the choosing was difficult.
“The quality seems to go up every year,” Atencio said.
The festival offers an acoustic music stage in the courtyard of Union Station, as well as a “plugged-in” stage at Lincoln Avenue and Historic 25th Street. This year’s musical talent includes bands new to the festival like Folk Hogan, of Salt Lake City, to Ogden Arts Festival alums like Fox Van Cleef and Juana Ghani.
Atencio said there has been some discussion about not allowing an act to perform two years in a row — which would give more opportunity to a greater number of acts, and is a standard policy at some other festivals.
“At the same time, if they did well, I think they deserve to play again,” said Atencio.
He points to Juana Ghani, a Riverton gypsy punk band that delighted fest-goers last year.
“Last year, we had them on the acoustic stage, but they are so explosive and big, we have moved them over to the band stage this year.”
Atencio also mentioned The North Valley, a Salt Lake City band that is a combination of two other bands and has a big following. And Greg Daniels, formerly of Ogden indie band Xmarks, brings his new band, called Pillar, to the band stage.
“He (Daniels) was the drummer for the Xmarks, which was a phenomenal band for a short run,” said Atencio. “They had a loyal local following. So it is great to have Greg back. It is going to be a terrific night.”
Atencio is happy to welcome back Fox Van Cleef, a local band that he has watched grow. “They are so smooth now, with a very refined sound that is their own.”
No one band is a headliner at the festival, Atencio said. He strives to have a strong mix throughout the festival. But he does say the bigger stage will tend to rock toward the evening hours.
“We are going to have music you can dance to,” said Atencio. “So be ready.”
THE MUSIC SCHEDULE
The Ogden Arts Festival has a full slate of musicians on Saturday, June 9.
At 25th and Lincoln Avenue
- 10 a.m. — James W. King Band, pop rock from Clinton
- 11 a.m. — Elementalist, blues/reggae from Ogden
- Noon — The Pillar, alternative rock from Ogden
- 1 p.m. — The North Valley, rock/folk/indie from Salt Lake City
- 2 p.m. — Michael Gross & the Statuettes, indie rock from Hooper
- 3 p.m. — Ferocious Oaks, street folk from Provo
- 4 p.m. — Hectic Hobo, Americana from Salt Lake City
- 5 p.m. — Juana Ghani, underground gypsy from Riverton
- 6 p.m. — Folk Hogan, folk/punk/gypsy from Salt Lake City
- 7 p.m. — Fox Van Cleef, rock/psychedelic/blues from Ogden
At Union Station Plaza, 25th and Wall Avenue
- 10 a.m. — Shaney McCoy, acoustic blues from Ogden
- 11 a.m. — Jay Golden, acoustic blues from Ogden
- Noon — Karlie McKinnon, folk from Ogden
- 1 p.m. — Emerall Pool, folk pop from Layton
- 2 p.m. — Jacoustic, alt singer/songwriter
- 3 p.m. — Candid Coyote, folk from Ogden
- 4 p.m. — Chris Aguilar and Friends, jazz/rock/reggae from Ogden
- 5 p.m. — Theta Naught, jazz/rock from Salt Lake City
- 7 p.m. — Callanish, Celtic fusion from Salt Lake City