Hugh James – ‘My Brother’s Shoes’

Originally from Garwood, New Jersey, Hugh James has been playing piano since the age of 5, and started playing in garage and basement bands as a child. Soon he started writing his own songs and music, which led him to study piano and composition at the University of Miami, before settling down in Los Angeles. Here he developed a multi-faceted music career, which included writing songs for Tiffany, and Steve Holy, recording and performing live with Michael McDonald, and BJ Thomas, placing songs in a number of films, and taking the role of Featured Pianist in Residence, at Disney’s Grand California Hotel.

The inspiration for Hugh James’ latest song, ‘My Brother’s Shoes’, came in the wake of the death of his brother Doug, in 2014. Doug fallen on hard times, and the newspaper story about Doug’s life and death, read:

“From waterfront home to Tent City; homeless man dies after long battle with alcohol.”

Doug had once been a successful contractor, but was found dead in Tent City, wearing a red shirt and hospital socks – no shoes – which led Hugh to ask everyone, from total strangers, to even Jesus, for clues, about ‘My Brother’s Shoes’. The gospel-soul track comes with a compelling video, a stunning and heartfelt reminder to us all not to judge the lives of others.

Hugh says, although the track was inspired by his brother Doug,

“it’s not about MY brother – it’s about your brother, it’s about all of our brothers, it’s about all of us.”

The haunting piano melody and the rousing backing vocals and rolling drumbeat make the music a backdrop for the listener to connect with the story told by the singer. The track also features legendary pedal steel guitarist, Jay Dee Maness, who’s best known for his work on Eric Clapton’s, ‘Tears In Heaven’.

The video for ‘My Brother’s Shoes’ was directed by Alan Marino, and features raw 8mm footage shot by Hugh and his son Nevada, as well as 3G, a multi-generational gospel family from North Carolina. The clip was shot in Ventura, California, which is where he was when he heard the news of his brother’s death.

Find out more about Hugh James on his official website.

My Brother's Shoes

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email

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