Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

James Cavanaugh & The Charm Of Hugo: Bio

Since June of 2008, James has been jamming with The Charm Of Hugo band, featuring Gary Kephart on bass, Steve Hatley on keys, Lacey Mattison on background vocals and Rich Washburn on drums. We are busy promoting The Charm Of Hugo album, but have also been massaging material into shape for the next album. Check out the calendar page to see when James Cavanaugh & The Charm Of Hugo will be playing next!

James grew up in South Dakota, the youngest of six (three boys, three girls). His older brothers and sisters all dabbled in music, and James fondly remembers his oldest brother John playing "Puff the Magic Dragon" in the living room. There were always instruments around the house...guitars, a piano in the living room, a flute, a trumpet, a clarinet. James ended up playing the trumpet in school band, and taking piano lessons. He started playing bass guitar at 14 when a neighborhood friend said "If you learn how to play bass, you can be in my band." James stuck with the bass throughout his teens and twenties, playing in a variety of bands, from Top 40 to Blues, New Wave to Indie. He took a break from playing in bands from 1990 to 1995 to earn a Bachelors in Music Composition and Theory from the University of Minnesota.

James had always played guitar as a hobby, and began playing solo acoustic gigs when he moved to Reno, Nevada in 1997. He decided to focus on song writing and recording, and bought his first multi-track recorder in 1998. Frustrated by the quality of his home recordings, he decided to go to audio engineering school, and in 2000 attended an intensive, four month course at the Los Angeles Recording Workshop. Since then, he has worked any number of live audio gigs, and works with Michael Eardley at Tanglewood Productions as an audio engineer.

"The Charm Of Hugo", released in 2008 is James Cavanaugh's second solo album. Though it can hardly be called a solo album, as many local musicians performed for the recording of the album. Tony Cataldo played trumpet, Frankie Ferreira, Gary Setzer and Rich Washburn played drums, Steve Hatley played keyboards, Andy Heglund played vibraphone, Kathy Hull played congas, and Monique Jade, Lacey Mattison and Gia Torcaso all graced the project with their lovely singing.

James' first solo release was 2004's JC & Co., an acoustic based 10 song CD featuring percussionist Kent Miura. Both albums are available on CD Baby or at a variety of download sites, including iTunes.