James T. Cody (born 29 October 1990) is an American musician, songwriter, educator, multi-instrumentalist, and music producer best known as the lead guitarist and co-founder of the Southern Groove Rock band The Blue Trees™. As a guitarist, James is well-versed in many styles and genres, but his signature style is rooted in the foundations of hard rock, grunge, classical, and metal.
James was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in the town of Bluff Park, a suburb located in the city of Hoover. As a child, he loved music and would often listen to classic rock radio stations. In the Spring of 2001, when James was eleven years old, a new interest caught his attention – the drums. Upon entering the fifth grade and auditioning in the following Fall, he was accepted into his school’s beginner band as a percussionist. Naturally, James’ talent would soon speak for itself. He rose to the ranking of 1st Chair Percussionist during his junior and high school years in the band program. It was also around this time that James began to show an interest in the electric guitar. After receiving an Epiphone G-400 for his thirteenth birthday, he spent hours after school learning power chords and basic scales. It soon became clear that his natural ability and musical inclination would become what he was known for among his peers.
As a teenager, James was heavily influenced by artists such as Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and AC/DC. He recalls the intro of Hells Bells as being one of the first guitar riffs he learned. Throughout high school, James was involved in numerous church bands and garage bands. When he was sixteen years old, he performed at open mic nights at a local bar in Birmingham known as Red Line, which is now closed. To this day, James believes these gigs had a major influence on his decision to further pursue music. “I remember the host of those events, Finney, as being a super chill guy. He was also a very talented musician that had the rocker “look”. He would always let me come into the bar to perform, even though I was only sixteen-years-old” – James
After graduating from high school in 2009, James spent the next two years performing live and traveling around the south east doing weekend runs. During this time, James was also pursuing higher education. In 2011, James completed his core curriculum at Jefferson State Community College and transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to complete his undergraduate coursework. His capstone work consisted of composing music and achieving proficiency in the art of recording technology, music production, and songwriting.
He also studied Jazz guitar under Eric Essix and Classical guitar under Yaniv Attar, conductor of the Bellingham Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, while a junior at the university, James was commissioned by Henry Panion III, PhD to play lead and rhythm guitar on his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Heaven Help Us All that would be used as part of a documentary film. His skills as a music producer and composer led to his fellowship at UAB Digital Media during his senior year, where he wrote and produced original underscores for docu-style film, short film, and university advertisements. Subsequently, in February of 2015, he received a Silver ADDY Award from the American Advertising Federation for his underscore “Rise”. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Music – Music Technology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham on April 25, 2015
In addition to his work with The Blue Trees™, James writes, records, and produces music for artists and songwriters in Nashville, TN. James received his Master of Science in Audio Engineering from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. James teaches courses on DAW, music production, mixing, track writing, and songwriting at the university.