Sunday 1/29: Backyard Jams with James LeBlanc and Angela Hacker

This Week: James LeBlanc and Angela Hacker


Angela Hacker

Angela Hacker is a country singer who first gained fame through winning Nashville Star, a country version of American Idol. She was born in 1978 in Muscle Shoals, AL. She grew up with three sisters and was shy as a child. When she was 13, she entered a singing contest at her school and claims that she "hasn't quit since." She struggled for the next 16 years with her singing career, but managed to get an audition on the fifth season of Nashville Star. She was selected to be one of the show's ten finalists and, throughout the competition, was perceived as the frontrunner. For the finale of the show, she was competing against her younger brother, Zac Hacker. In the end, Angela took the title and won a recording contract with Warner Brothers Records. She recorded and released her debut album, The Winner Is..., on April 3, 2007. The album had no singles, since the point of the album was to be a retrospective of her time on the show. She is currently working on her second album, which will be a collaboration with her younger brother, Zac Hacker. She has one son, Bay Simpson, and resides in Florence, AL.

James LeBlanc

A native of Shreveport, LA, James LeBlanc, has earned recognition over the past decade as a singer-songwriter from Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

James' early musical influences include many of the most prominent names in rock and country, The Eagles, Jackson Browne, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Neil Young, Merle Haggard and George Jones.

"I was playing songs by all these guys by the time I was twelve," he says. "I started playing and singing when I was 7 years old. My dad was a picker and singer so he taught me all this stuff as soon as I was old enough to know what was going on. I grew up with it. It was very good training."

I love the sheer passion in playing, singing and writing," James says.

His delivery is what is called "soulful" in Muscle Shoals, with talents so broad, he crosses genres easily.

On top of his singing and writing abilities, James also is an amazing guitar player. He spent much of his youth practicing and playing in local bands throughout the South. He spent years developing his stage chops by playing and singing for up to 8 hours a night, six days a week in the Shreveport casinos.

James has been writing for Fame Publishing in Muscle Shoals since December of 1997 and has spent these years building a publishing catalog and honing his musical talents. He has had dozens of songs recorded by major label artists, including the title cut to Jason Aldean’s “Relentless, Gary Allan’s “Learning How To Bend” and “Yesterday’s Rain,”Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Don’t Give Up On Me” and “I Can’t Live Without Your Love.” the top 10 single "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde" for Travis Tritt, and recent cuts by Rascall Flatts, Tal Bachman, Martina McBride, and Nashville Star's Angela Hacker.

Backyard Jams are produced in coordination with Barry Billings. Billings is a Shoals Musician with a storied history. He has recently played with Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. Billing's song "Brother John" is featured on the 2015 Grammy-winning album Muscle Shoals Recordings by the Steel Drivers and is known as one of the highlights of the album. He has recorded with The Swampers and traveled with Marie Osmand and the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose.