James Tyler Cody (born 29 October 1990) is an American musician and music producer best known as the lead guitarist and co-founder of the Southern Americana Groove Rock band Jacob Needham and 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, and British new wave.
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 drum set. 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. In fact, he specifically recalls the intro of Hells Bells as being one of the first guitar riffs he ever learned. Throughout high school James was involved in numerous church bands and garage bands. At sixteen years old, his first gig was performing at an open mic night at a local bar in Birmingham known as Red Line, which is now closed. To this day, James believes this early experience played a significant role in reassuring his future as a musician was bright.
After graduating from high school in 2009, James spent the next two years performing live and traveling around the south east for weekend gigs. 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. In 2014, 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. His skills as a musician and composer led to his subsequent fellowship at UAB Digital Media during his senior year, where he wrote and produced original music for documentary-style film and university advertisements. In 2015, he received a student Silver ADDY Award from the American Advertising Federation for his original music score Rise. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Music–Music Technology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
In addition to his work with Jacob Needham and The Blue Trees™, James is a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree.