James McKinney

Born: Ft. Payne, AL

Bluegrass Banjo McKinney Brothers, Roy Acuff

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


Born in Fort Payne, Alabama in 1957 to J.R. and Duette McKinney. James is from a long line of Banjo pickers including his mother who still loves to play.

James started playing Banjo at 14 and hasn't stopped since. James has had the privilege of playing or recording with many of the legends of music including Bill Monroe, Vassar Clements, Johnny Cash, John Hartford, and The Grateful Dead.

James has sung and played at the Grand Ol' Opry, performed regularly at Opryland, had a number of bands of his own over years, and won the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. He has been published on over 10 albums/CD's over the years and still enjoys teaching Banjo at various workshops and seminars around the world.

James is not only an internationally renowned Banjo player but also a highly respected teacher of the Banjo art. Some of James' favorite students include Wendy Holcomb of "Nashville on the Road"(television), Jeff Scroggins 1989 National Bluegrass Banjo Champion and member of "The Blue Canyon Boys", and Emily Robinson of "The Dixie Chicks".

Today James McKinney lives in Atlanta, GA where he plays music with bassist, Niki Portmann, and guitarist, David Dugas.

Source: The Official WebSite of Extreme Banjo Artist James McKinney



James McKinney was a member of the bluegrass group Danger in the Air, a regional bluegrass band based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Among its members was founding member of the Dixie Chicks, Robin Lynn Macy.

From a young age, McKinney began performing and competing. He won the South U.S. Banjo Championship at the age of 15. He moved to Nashville where he played with Opryland's "Bluegrass Show" and started a career as a studio musician. He made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry at 19. In 1982, he won the National Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas. In two other years' competitions, he rated third place. He Toured for a few years with the Legendary fiddler Vassar Clements.

He relocated to the Dallas area in the 1980s where he joined Danger in the Air. When the band dissolved, McKinney moved to Nashville in 1990 where he continued to perform using the band's name until 2003. He moved to Atlanta Georgia in 2008 and currently performs with Niki Portmann and David Dugas in a group called "Howling Tree" and also teaches at banjo workshops around the country.

Source: James McKinney (musician) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Danger in the Air was a regional bluegrass band based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area from the mid 1980s until 1990. It is best known as the band in which Robin Lynn Macy performed while simultaneously founding the up-start, all-female group the Dixie Chicks in 1989.[1][2]

The band was founded by Drew Garrett (bass) and Andy Owens (mandolin) in mid 1985. Both musicians were established bluegrass musicians. The original group also included Robin Macy on guitar and vocals. James McKinney joined the group early in 1986 on banjo. Stephan Dudash (5-string viola) was a late addition. As a five-piece, the band won first place at several regional competitions and placed fourth in the national SPBGMA band contest in Nashville.[3]

Danger in the Air released two cassettes—a self-titled recording and Airtight.

After the band dissolved, due in part to Macy's commitments to the fledgling The Dixie Chicks, McKinney moved to Nashville in 1990 where he continued to perform using the band's name. After dropping the name in 2003, he and his wife performed as the James & Angela McKinney Band. He now lives in Atlanta.[4]

Garrett eventually moved to Colorado where he worked as a sound engineer and producer.[3]

Owens remains active in bluegrass circles, although some may have forgotten that he introduced Macy to the Erwin sisters and recorded their three-track demo. <>[5][6] His Andy Owens Project released several CDs and he recorded and toured with Druha Trava in 2007.[7]

Dudash continues to record and perform. He released Mango Django in 2004.[8]

Macy eventually left the Chicks over a dispute in musical direction. She eventually moved to Kansas where she is the owner of the Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine. She teaches mathematics at the Wichita Collegiate School in Wichita.

Danger in the Air Drew Garrett, Bass; Robin Lynn Macy, Guitar, Vocals; Andy Owens, Mandolin, Vocals; James McKinney, Banjo; and Stephan Dudash, Viola, Vocals.



1^ Danger in the Air - Song List

2^ "Dixie Chicks." Contemporary Musicians. Ed. Angela M. Pilchak. Vol. 49. Gale Group, Inc., 2005. eNotes.com. 2006. 20 Dec, 2007 <http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/ dixie-chicks-biography

3^ a b Sounds Right Recording - About Sounds Right Recording

4^ James & Angela McKinney Band

5^ CD Baby: ANDY OWENS: Drive South

6^ The Mountain Times Online

7^ DiscoverBluegrass.com - Bluegrass education

8^ CD Baby: STEPHAN DUDASH: Mango Django


Source: Danger in the Air - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia





Subscribe to Newsletter

Rick Carter Radio - All Alabama Music

Accepting submissions and adding them daily. Artists can send their songs in MP3's to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. One song per email. Graphics and song and artist info should be included of course.

This space
for rent!

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.