James grew up in the small town of Renfrew Ontario just 45 mins west of the nations capital. From the beginning James always had country music around him. Whether it was being played live at family members homes or at concerts that his parents took him too. Country music was everywhere. “I can still remember listening to my dad’s Conway Twitty 8-track in our Buick station wagon.”
As James grew into his teens he started being influenced by new genres of music. Being an avid skateboarder he was eventually introduced to punk music. Punk held the same story telling aspects of country but with a darker edge. At the age of 16 a friend convinced him to start playing the guitar and soon after he began writing his own songs and forming a band. “I never had the ambition to learn cover songs. Writing an original let me tell a story which in return gave back so much more.”
Throughout his late teens and twenties James continued to write songs that made up multiple LP’s for his two long lasting punk bands but by 2010 he decided to try a different path. He jumped back into his roots and released his first solo acoustic album titled “Stay for a While”.
” …he tells rich timeless stories…Each new track offers a new tale of love, adventure, and loss…His story telling and use of guitar and harmonica instantly commands your attention, as he weaves from story to story.” -Doug Ralph CHUO 89.1 FM
By the end of 2011 James had another 14 songs ready to record. This time he wanted to step it up a notch and decided to add bass and percussion to the mix. His good friend and multi-talented ex band mate Michael Hunter joined on to help add some extra instrumentation to the mix. In April of 2012 he recorded his for his second release, “Until It Passes By”, at Lil’ Chicago Studios in Smiths Falls with Tim Greencorn
Enter stage left, the spirit of Steve Earle. The gravely voice, the porch-friendly beat—it makes you want to wheel the pickup out onto a hillbilly highway. -Peter Simpson, Ottawa Citizen- top 20 of 2012
During 2013 James had been practicing regularly with Hunter and also added good friend and former band mate Christopher McLean in on bass to the mix. By the beginning of 2014 James was realizing that his material was piling up. After getting the offered to perform opening night at RBC’s Ottawa Bluesfest (before Tegan and Sara, Blake Shelton) and the grand opening of Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park he knew it was the time for another album. So on May 10th, he and the band, now James Leclaire and The Cable 22’s, hit the studio with producer Matt Ouimet to record his 3rd album, “Of What is Left”.
“…he sings with a mix of Bob Dylan and Steve Earle. It’s a phenomenal mix of country/folk/blues.” -Brian Talmey, Martyr Magazine
“…the album is a true marriage of genres, a hybrid with each style adding to the final results without compromising its fuel source.”
-Danny McCloskey, The Alternate Root
“He’s the Dave Grohl of Ottawa country music…the songs just soar.” -Kevin McGowan, The Revue
In May of 2015 James and The Cable 22’s went into Little Bullhorn Studios and recorded with Dave Draves for James 4th album, “These Weights”, which is being released at Ottawa’s CityFolk Festival on Sept 17th.