James Keelaghan is a Juno award-winning Canadian folk singer-songwriter born in Calgary, Alberta, now based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Many of his songs, such as "Kiri's Piano", about the internment of Japanese Canadians, and "October 70", about the FLQ crisis, are inspired by events and figures in Canadian history. Known for his lilting baritone voice, his driving rhythm guitar, and a keen sense of scene and narrative, Keelaghan’s music bridges traditional folk music with Canadiana.
His song "Cold Missouri Waters", about the Mann Gulch fire of 1949, was covered by the band Cry Cry Cry in 1998. His songs have also been covered by folk luminaries such as Roy Bailley and Garnet Rogers.
Keelaghan studied history at the University of Calgary and notes that two of his influences there were Drs. Margaret J. Osler and Silverman. With international popularity from Australia to England, James Keelaghan plays a wide variety of venues from large festivals and concert halls to intimate folk clubs venues and often invites the audience for a beer after his performance.
Frequent guest musicians on his albums include Stephen Fearing, Oscar Lopez and Hugh McMillan of Spirit of the West. His latest CD, "A Few Simple Verses" (2006), co-produced by James and Hugh McMillan, is a return to his roots. Featuring traditional songs, songs James felt ought to be traditional, and two original "traditional" songs, guests include Danú, Veda Hille, James Fagan and Nancy Kerr, Geoffrey Kelly, and Jez Lowe (co-writer on one "original traditional").