Irish Session Bassist, Composer and Co Creator of The Todalie Stories
About James Blennerhassett
How long have you been playing?
I have been playing Bass since the age of 12, my father played double bass and my mother plays violin and piano.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
Handel’s Messiah in Sligo, I think I was 9 or 10. Unbelievable, I had never heard so many people singing together before.
What gear do you use?
I play a German double bass c1850. I also play Sandberg 5 string basses and a Chapman NS Stick.
I use PJB by Phil Jones Pure Sound Bass amplification,it’s the best I’ve ever used especially for upright Bass.
I exclusively use Elixir Bass Strings.
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
I toured for many years with great artists such as; Mary Black , Green on Red, Paul Brady, Brian Kennedy, Andy White, Maura O’Connell, Frances Black, Kieran Goss and Gilbert O’Sullivan.
I am mainly a session player and have played on too many albums to list here.
I try to play in 2 shows every year to keep up the sight reading chops and because I enjoy it.
I used to play with the Conquerors doing mainly theatre shows, the annual Irish all star cruise and corporate events/weddings but left after several productive years to play Bass guitar and Double Bass with a rising young Scottish country singer called Lisa Mc Hugh with Ray Mc Loughlin on Piano, Colm Mc Lean on guitar and Robbie Casserly on drums. Hot band!
I decided in January’13 to concentrate on writing for the Chapman NS Stick and to play freelance again and so left the Lisa Mc Hugh band.
I have recently been doing live concerts with Frances Black and a young singer / songwriter called Louise Killeen, and have been touring as a member of the great Daniel O’Donnell’s new band.
I am currently playing with a very talented singer / songwriter Derek Ryan.
What’s the biggest audience you ever performed to? What’s the smallest?
Zero to Hero!
You’re stuck on a desert island and only get to bring one album with you. What do you pick?
Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. I first heard it performed in Southwark cathedral, London. Probably the most moving live concert I have ever been lucky enough to experience.