James Supra performs in Catty
The James Supra Blues Band made an appearance at Catasauqua’s amphitheater Aug. 30 for one of the borough’s summer concerts at Catasauqua Park and Playground, 501 American St.
“We try to get at least one concert every year with him,” Jeff Miller said. “He is much sought-after talent, and we are happy he always has a great show.”
Miller runs the parks and the pool and starts scheduling the bands in February. He noted Catasauqua’s venue is in high demand by local musicians.
Supra’s band is popular in the Lehigh Valley.
“We play 200 gigs a year,” Supra said. “In the summer, we love the concert circuit. It keeps us pretty busy. We do taverns in the winter.”
Most of his performances are local so the band does not need to travel a lot.
“We do a few travel dates, but mostly we are happy working with our friends in this area,” he said.
The road to stardom was difficult. Like all great musicians, he seemed to appear on the scene and skyrocket onto everyone’s must-see list.
A fan who knows him well mentioned working with Supra selling insurance to AARP and Medicare recipients. After watching Supra perform in concert with B.B. King, she urged him to get out of the insurance business and into playing his music.
Supra knocked around with a couple of different bands before going out on his own; his popularity soared.
Supra plays diatonic harmonica. The diatonic is tuned to the key the band is going to play in. One harmonica is not going to cut it — Supra has 45.
“I think I’m missing one, but I change instruments based on what the band is playing, so we need to get a good idea of the set list when we rehearse,” he said.
Supra has had his battles. He beat kidney cancer and had a brain operation, which slowed him down. He credits music with giving him the strength to overcome the health problems.
Miller wants him booked for next year. It just becomes a matter of getting a date set.