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Musical duo returning to roots again

A nationally known duo will make a trip back to their hometown in Lawrence County this Memorial Day weekend to entertain and visit with their fans for the second year in a row.

Christian & James, made up of Wally Christian and James Waldo, is coming home to Ironton Monday and will perform at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at The End Zone, located at 211 Adams St. in Ironton. Admission is free.

“We say it goes until 11,” Christian laughed, “but we go until everyone’s had enough.”

The two play a variety of music, and describe it as a little country and a little light rock.

“I like to do some Johnny Cash Stuff,” Christian said. “My partner does the Eagles and Eric Clapton. Jimmy does a great job on ‘Wonderful Tonight.’

“We’ll be doing autographs and have our CDs with us, and we’re hoping to see a lot of old friends,” Christian said.

Christian describes the pair as locally created and nationally known.

“We’ve both had recording contracts and are seasoned musicians,” he said. “We still write and record, just not a lot of touring.”

Christian & James now perform in Florida half of the year. After dealing with cancer, Christian made some changes.

“I lost a lung in 2006,” he said. “Since then I’ve been home six months out of the year because of the weather.”

Jason Smith, owner of the Fuzzy Duck and nephew of Waldo, said they draw a great crowd when they come back to town as well as when they are away.

“My wife and I got married in Destin, Fla., and we saw them there,” Smith said. “They have a good following.”

Smith said fans of Christian & James range in age from early 20s to people in their 70s and 80s.

Christian got his musical start when he was 10 years old, playing the guitar with his family.

“My uncle and dad and me would sit around on Saturday nights, play guitar, sing and write,” Christian said.

They each got their start in Ironton and they say people have supported them since the beginning.

“Our roots are in Ironton and it’s good to get back home,” Christian said. “There are such wonderful people here. We owe our whole career to these people.”

Christian still lives in the area half of the year with his wife, Leigh, and their children and granddaughter.