11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Tyler James (Escondido)

EscondidoTyler James is one-half of the musical duo Escondido along with Jessica Maros. Working as writers, the two met in 2011 and two years later they made their critically-acclaimed debut album, “The Ghost of Escondido.” Against all odds, they recorded it in a single day and released it on their own Kill Canyon label. They soon found success scoring cuts on film and TV soundtracks along with some television appearances and slots as tour openers for some name acts.

A follow-up second LP led to a national headlining tour after which Jessica left Music City for LA where Escondido recorded its just-released record, “Warning Bells.” Escondido has a lush and layered Southwestern-flavored sound that makes fans of Americana, indie, psychedelic and folk-rock feel right at home.

Thanks to Tyler for taking a moment to give me his 11 Answers to my 11 Questions.


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I was born in Mt. Vernon, WA, but my family moved to Orange City, IA when I was in first grade, and later to Holland, MI before my last year of high school.  I moved to Nashville in 2000 to study music business at Belmont University and to pursue some kind of music career.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

I believe my firsts were Radiohead’s The Bends and Counting Crows August and Everything After on CD from Columbia House. Most recently, I bought two vinyl LPs at Grimey’s down the street from my house:  Jeff Lynne’s ELO’s Alone in the Universe and Nick Lowe’s The Impossible Bird.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

My mom took me to my first concert when i was in middle school which was Michael W. Smith in Sioux City, IA.  He was on a rotating piano in the center of the arena.  I later got into Phil Collins, and it all started to make sense. Most recently, I caught the incredible Jayhawks at Mercy Lounge.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

Buddy Miller (musician, producer), Michael Grimes (promoter and record store owner), John Bruton (promoter) and Butch Spyridon (tourism executive)

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Frothy Monkey for coffee because my brother and buds work there.  CREMA, Dose Coffee, 8th & Roast are also good. Five Points Pizza for pizza.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Neil Young’s Harvest and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

Dino’s Bar! Open until 3am, cheap beer and food plus a back patio.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Kate York, Daniel Tashian, Rayland Baxter

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

The Ryman, but that’s few and far between.  Mostly the Basement East and the Mercy Lounge for full band shows plus the OG Basement for intimate stuff.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

Jim Keltner, Dr. Dre and Paul McCartney

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I recently built my first studio, so I plan on creating as many good songs and records as possible with artists who inspire me.  Hope to continue touring and finish a solo record as well!

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