Anyone who has seen James and Angela perform know, when the show is over, that they have just witnessed a performance between two musicians who time has polished and molded to form a special magic that was meant to be, and that will not be forgotten!
The collaboration first started when the two met in Texas after James had moved from Nashville, Tennessee five years prior, and started a band in Dallas, which gained great recognition in the bluegrass area. Angela, a native Texan, was a recognized singer within the Texas scene, and taught guitar and fiddle at a small town music store. It was at a jam held at the music store that James and Angela first met. The two hit it off immediately. Ten months later they married and moved to Nashville to start their lives together and to pursue their dream of playing music together. For years they played under the name of James’ former band, Danger In The Air, but later decided upon the name “James and Angela McKinney Band” because, with time, the sounds that were constantly there, no matter who else played with them, were the sounds of James and Angela. The sincere, loving personalities of these two along with their undeniable musical talents are something you are sure to embrace.
James McKinney is without a doubt no stranger in the
Acoustic/Bluegrass world. Born and raised in the mountains of
Ft.Payne, Alabama, James spent his formative years surrounded by the
musical sounds of his great-grandmother and great-grandfather, his
grandmother, as well as his mother who all played banjo. So it comes
as no surprise that James would fall for the same instrument that
embodied his heritage and made his spirit soar.
James became very accomplished at the banjo at a young age, and
by the time he was fifteen had won the South U.S. Banjo
Championship. From that point on he continued to win countless
contests, and was the leader of a young bluegrass group for many
At age nineteen James moved to Nashville to play music full-time
as the banjo player and musical arranger of Opryland’s “Bluegrass
Show” as well as becoming a studio musician.
Also at age 19, James first played on the Grand Ole Opry, and has played many times since. In 1980,
James started touring with long-time friend Vassar Clements and can still be found appearing with him on
occasions. In 1982 he won the National Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas, and since then he has
been asked to be one of the judges for the National event many times. James moved to Dallas, Texas in the
late 80’s and started his former band, Danger In The Air. In 1990 James moved back to Tennessee along
with Angela to play music full-time together.
Recognized as the Master of the Five-string Banjo, James is also known as one of the most experienced
lecturers/teachers on the instrument. He has given workshops and Master Classes all over the world. Living
in Nashville gave James opportunities to play and study with some of the best musicians of all time. James
is quick to give credit to some of his biggest influences and mentors such as his music instructors Lenny
Breau, foremost jazz educator David Baker, and Henry Ferrell (the teacher of Chet Atkins and Jethro Burns),
not to mention the powerful influences of Bill Monroe, Don Reno, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley and long-time
friends Vassar Clements and John Hartford.
James’ playing can be heard on everything from commercials, to Porter Wagner shows, to various
artist albums such as Barbara Mandrell, Vassar Clements, Johnny Cash, and his Danger In The Air
albums. But one of his most highly acclaimed recordings is his instrumental album entitled ”Mind Over
Banjo”. Most recently, James is excited about the band’s current cd, “A Clear View.”
Angela McKinney, the lead vocalist and guitarist of the band,
was born and raised in the wide-open lands of Texas where she
resided in the small town of Burleson, right outside of Fort Worth,
for the most part of her life. From the beginning, Angela showed
a great aptitude and love for music, as was evident in her constant
singing and early writings. She was often chosen for school
programs because of her early vocal abilities, but it was in church
that Angela first started singing.
She was later awarded with a college scholarship where she
was able to continue developing her musical skills. At nineteen
she was exposed to Texas-style fiddling, and was so taken by it
she started playing and later competing at “Old-Time Texas Fiddle”
contests on the instrument. She later started sharing her love for
the music by teaching the guitar and fiddle. While in Texas she
was often seen playing and singing at the “Old-Time Texas Fiddle” events, as well as performing
with a local band and performing regularly at several Opry’s. Once Angela and James moved to
Tennessee she became the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band “Danger In The Air. Her
emotionally moving, yet powerful vocals helped the band earn a spot on the T.V. music show “Be A
Since a young child, Angela had always been drawn to the guitar, and later, after listening to great
acoustic players like Tony Rice, Django Reinhardt, Dan Crary and Clarence White, she decided it
would be her instrument of choice. As time has revealed, not only has Angela been recognized as a
spellbinding singer, but also a highly skilled guitarist. Undeniably, Angela brings to the band a purity of
voice and a love for music, but Angela is also a very accomplished songwriter who is able to capture a
moment or feeling and sing to your heart. The band’s current album demonstrates her writing talents
as will her upcoming solo album, which will primarily be her original songs.