A brief biographical sketch of James Houlahan

James Houlahan is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player based in Los Angeles, California. A founding member of Boston-area bands such as Dogs on Television and The Jody Grind, Houlahan has come to be known as a songsmith who channels both tradition and poetic innovation, rooted in dark folk sounds and eclectic Americana. His songs have been used in commercials, television, and film. He performs regularly in the L.A. area and tours throughout the western U.S.


Houlahan's new album, Multitudes, was released in April 2016. It features 10 new songs and performances by some of the best session musicians L.A. has to offer, including Fernando Perdomo (Linda Perhacs, Jakob Dylan) on bass and Danny Frankel (Lou Reed, k.d. lang) on percussion. It was recorded at Veneto West studios in Santa Monica, CA, and was produced by Houlahan and Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson, Steve Morse, Nels Cline).


Born and raised in New England, Houlahan began to seriously write songs in college as he juggled the possibilities for writing poetry with writing music. Influenced by writers such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Neil Young, Houlahan is attempting a dynamic musicality, inextricably bound to a need for approaching human experience, stories, mythic themes and mental pictures with a sense of poetic innovation and a fierce urge for the truth. More recently influenced by writers such as Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt, he has become interested in combining aspects of traditional music with evocative, more personal lyrics. Stumbling into Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music and the writings of Joseph Campbell have also opened numerous doors into What's Next.


In 2009, Houlahan released the debut solo record Seven Years Now. That album has gone on to achieve a dedicated following in the Boston area. Due to the positive response, it was followed-up by the album “misfit hymns." This second effort found airplay on over 100 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada, and was released in Europe with the distributor Continental Record Services. Following his relocation to Los Angeles in 2012, Houlahan immediately began writing and working on songs for his third album, Multitudes.


In performance, Houlahan’s shows can veer from quieter, intimate solo gigs to louder, band-rocking, exercises in face-melting bliss. He has performed shows all over California, the western U.S., and the New England area. Check out the Live Show Calendar for upcoming (and past) shows.