Jeremiah James, Wild Hands to play at Otis & James

Submitted Photo Joe Andrus, left, the upright bass player for Wild Hands, performs with Jeremiah James.

Rising country stars Jeremiah James and the Wild Hands will give a New Year’s Eve performance at Otis & James in downtown Minot.

Starting at 8:30 p.m., audiences can anticipate the sounds of blazing rhythm sections, lively vocals and a unique brand of country music.

“We’re North Dakota guys, playing our version of country music,” James said. “We’re a little different and I know people are going to like what they hear. It’s not just rockabilly, outlaw country and honky tonk. It’s an amalgam that is new and comfortably traditional.”

For James and the Wild Hands, country music is a canvas that reveals the heartache, grit and fighting spirit of America.

Unconventional and unapologetic, James credits his North Dakota roots for igniting his lyrical talents.

“I’ve worked in the oil fields and I’ve been laid off from the oil fields,” James said. “I’ve had success, experienced failures and I believe that country music captures our raw emotions.”

Vocally, James excites audiences with his dynamic voice inflections and booming growls.

As a native of Minot, the baritone singer said the harsh winters of North Dakota provides a bold edge toward his songwriting and stage presence.

“It takes toughness and character to endure North Dakota’s winters,” James said. “I think the long winters are good for songwriting.”

Throughout the concert, James and Wild Hands plan to honor their country roots by performing songs by Waylon Jennings and other notable artists.

“Country music has a rich tradition of acknowledging the past,” James said. “Johnny Cash sang Hank Williams songs and Merle Haggard sang Johnny Cash songs.”

According to James, life should not be dictated by fear or conventional rules.

After starting a collegiate career, the Minot born singer and songwriter withdrew from his studies to follow his passion of performing music.

Today, James is a winner of the Prairie Public’s Johnny Cash contest, a holder of a top selling independent album and looks forward to building a North Dakota brand of country music with the Wild Hands.

“Nothing is going to make or break you,” James said. “Life is going to give you a ton shots. So, it’s up to you to make your breaks and hit your shots. If you really want to do something, just go out there and do it. When you take that step, you grow as a person and learn a little bit more about who you are.”