James is from the village of Back in the Isle of Lewis. He began playing the pipes at the age of 8 and went on to compete successfully in junior solo piping competitions throughout Scotland. After leaving School, James studied traditional music at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Benbecula College. It was there where he took a great interest in playing flute under the guidance of Iain Macdonald (Glenuig).
After a year in Benbecula, he made his move from the Hebrides to Glasgow where he has recently completed a BA(Hons) in Scottish Music, specializing in Piping at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. James played with the Scottish Power pipeband for two years during his studies in Glasgow. He has played and toured with several folk bands over the last few years with performances across Europe, Canada, USA and Australia. He joins Breabach in 2011 taking over the flute playing and piping duties of Donal Brown.