Mel Oakes' nephew, Jim Oakes is a musician. He has written and sung many songs in a variety of genre's mostly Southern rock. The extended family have always recognized the very beautiful speaking voice that Jim has. Mel Oakes and a friend of Jim's felt this this would come through in his singing if her were to sing a ballad accompanied by music he would not have to compete with. To our delight he recorded for us "Bring Him Home" from the musical "Les Miserable." I think it is safe to that all who have heard it, love his rendition and are moved to tears. While Jim did post it on Facebook, I thought it would be more accessible to the family if it were available on the Oakes-Winter website. Click the play button on the control panel below the poster, wait a moment for it to start. Enjoy.
Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, J. F. spent his early years living in several towns throughout the South until he finally landed in the small pine-covered central Mississippi town of Monticello along the banks of the mighty Pearl River. As a part of THE 484 SOUTH BAND (former co-lead singer) he has opened for THE ELI YOUNG BAND, WADE BOWEN, COLT McCOY, and headlined events in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for thousands. J. F. (Jim) Oakes
J. F. was born in the historic southern city of Vicksburg, MS. Shortly thereafter his family moved several places around the South (Hattiesburg, MS; Gonzales, LA, Vicksburg again, etc.) for the next few years. While living in towns or traveling as a small child with his mother to Texas to visit relatives, or on trips across the entire country with his father, the radio was always on. And when it wasn't, the old victrola at grandma's was available. From Hank Williams, Sr. to Jose Feliciano to Johnny Horton to Jimmy Rodgers to Johnny Cash, they all had their time in his young ears. As a teenager growing up in Mississippi, 70's/Early 80's rock and roll would pull hard at his heart. The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, The Band, etc. seemed to be the soundtrack to his life and mind. In the early 80's he played in a couple of high school band's and even got to be on stage with Mississippi's own Cary Hudson (Blue Mountain) while opening the Atwood Music Festival (Mississippi's longest running outdoor festival). Hudson's cousin, Chris Hudson, was in the band and this connection would stir up again in the 90's as Oakes did design work for the upstart Alt-Country BLACK DOG RECORDS label that Hudson became a part of.
Through that connection Oakes was able to see the inner workings of a top notch recording facility and was able to hear some great Southern artist's (The Juvenators, Cary Hudson, Taylor Grocery Band, John Stirratt (Wilco/Gimmecaps), The Hilltops, Virgil Brawley, Marah, Duff Dorrough, Beaver Nelson, The Continental Drifters, and so many more) first hand. In late 2007, he joined the Southern Rock group "The 484 South Band" with former high school bandmate Keith Schultz. They've opened for the likes of Wade Bowen and The Eli Young Band. The 484 South Band had two successful albums, 2009's "Mississippi Nights", and 2011's "21 Miles of Bad Road". While still in The 484 South Band, J.F. (Jim) Oakes decided to pursue some original music until the band recorded their next album. Jeffrey Reed (Sound Engineer for Thacker Mountain Radio, formerly of Ardent Studios and Black Dog Records) mixed and mastered the album with Tweed Studios in Oxford, Mississippi providing the setting.
Oakes is no longer a member of The 484 South Band and occasionally pops up at singer/songwriter rounds in Mississippi and Louisiana. Oakes is currently the host of the radio show SOUND CHECK MISSISSIPPI (www.wdrofm.com). It is an hour of music based on artists from, or with ties to, Mississippi. J. F.'s second album WEST OF CAPRICORN (DELUXE EDITION) was released on Nov. 4, 2017. It's SOUTHERN ROCK with all the fixins. Jeffrey Reed returned to engineer the album that was recorded at ARDENT STUDIOS in Memphis and DIPPING VAT STUDIO in J. F.'s hometown of Monticello, MS. Billy Earheart (Amazing Rhythm Aces, Hank Jr.'s Bama Band) returned for keys; Justin Showah (Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition, Hill Country Records) joins for bass, Max Williams (Kudzu Kings, George McConnell & the Nonchalants) returns for all things with six strings, Ryan Rogers (Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition & Rocket 88) joined for drums/percussion, Nick Smith (Skylar Lane, Michael McCall) added guitar on a couple songs, Tate Moore (Kudzu Kings, Tate Moore) sang backup on LOW DOWN, and many more contributed to the album. HARD southern music.
Jim is married to Twyla Ward. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Left to Right: James Wyatt Oakes, Kayla Neal Oakes (Kayla is pregnant with Charlie Ann Oakes), Connor Oakes, Jim Oakes, Bemjamin Dean Rester, Reuben Rester, Amanda Oakes Rester. Twyla Ward Oakes, seated. Christmas 2017