James shoots and scores with song on popular hockey podcast
Darryl James has performed on some of the biggest stages in the world, to some of the largest audiences, and under the studio lights of television shows that draw millions of viewers across the continent.
And while the affable and humble local musician and producer is forever careful to keep that success – garnered as a member of The Strumbellas – in perspective, he seems almost giddy at his most recent accomplishment: being showcased, as solo artist, on the wildly popular podcast, 31 Thoughts , hosted by Hockey Night in Canada’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman.
“Hockey’s been part of my life. Forever,” says James, who played for The Central Ontario Wolves, the Little Britain Merchants and also refereed at various junior levels. “And Jeff and Elliotte are two people that I’ve followed throughout my life of hockey. The fact that they’re willing to feature my music and spreading the word is truly an honour.”
Indeed, The House We Built, a song James co-wrote and produced via his solo project, Close Kicks, earlier this year, is a perfect fit with the twice-weekly hockey podcast, which closes each episode by highlighting work from a different Canadian musician.
“(The House We Built) is really focused around sports and team-building,” says James, who still plays pick-up hockey with Lindsay’s 911 group, comprised mostly of emergency personnel.
And while there’s no denying the catchy song conjures images of all-things-hockey, its lyrics are just as likely to evoke the challenges faced – and met – in everyday life, especially during the past year – a fact supported by its accompanying video, which features James and his young family at various locations in Kawartha Lakes. James’s wife, Robyn, also contributed backing vocals.
Upon the release of The House We Built last January, James spoke to Advocate Podcast host, in Episode 24 about the song’s inspiration.
“It had a message that made sense to my career…and having that support behind you,” he told host, Denis Grignon, at the time.
Four months later, James is buoyed by the continuing growth in popularity of the song, which has a definite anthem-like feel.
The producers of Hockey Night in Canada are now also expressing interest in showcasing James’s work during the playoffs.
“To do this on my own in my little studio and to know there are major brands and big podcasts and bigger names that are interested in featuring this song, it’s just sort of mind-blowing,” he says. “I just see it as a stepping stone to build from and continue to release more music.
“And it’s not something I take for granted.”