The James Larocca Project


A Different Road

Cutting Edge Web Magazine (

…”A Different Road,” a beautifully crafted body of work that deeply touches the soul. The disc spotlights LaRocca’s subtle, exotic and delicate acoustic guitar augmented by violin, drums, and string bass. As with his life, the recording moves through a wide variety of tonal peaks and valleys. From the charming “Summer’s Day” to the melancholy “Understanding” to the somber “Little Girl Blue” LaRocca breathes passionate life into heartfelt compositions that speak volumes.



Title: Guitarist with MS releases debut CD
Date:  November 2003
By: Mark Woodlief

Many musicians dream of recording their own CD’s, but only the most impassioned make the sacrifices necessary to achieve their ambitions. Then there are times when mere sacrifice isn’t enough, when it seems life is setting up obstacles in every direction.

A major hurdle for McMinnville guitarist James LaRocca was being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000. But, like many who struggle with the incurable neurological disorder, LaRocca has persevered. He recently released his 11-song debut, “A Different Road”. Song titles such as “Changes” and the title track represent the kind of adjustments people with MS might go through.

LaRocca’s right hand is completely numb. “It came to the point where I couldn’t button a shirt,” he said. To compensate, LaRocca has to be resourceful. He’s even used glue on his guitar picks. By making changes in his diet, reducing stress and taking medications, LaRocca is managing the illness as best he can. “I haven’t had any flare-ups for about 2 1/2 years,” he says. “My goal is to maintain my health until they cure this disease.”

A Portland native, James, 36 received his music degree from the University of North Texas. He played professionally in the Dallas area, where he and his wife, Sunday lived for a time before returning to Oregon to raise a family. They have two children, both of whom have songs named for them on “A Different Road.”

Family and friends came together to bring the CD to fruition. The project unofficially began when James performed a composition in honor of his grandmother, Eleanor, at her funeral earlier this year. Sunday LaRocca designed the CD packaging while James’ father, Jerry, photographed the cover. McMinnville’s Instep Recording provided discounted studio time. And four musicians – violinist Gordon Hall, bassist Matt Seymour, drummer Matthew Eagan and pianist Jonathan Swanson accompanied LaRocca.

“A Different Road” is a melodic, and occasionally melancholic, album brimming with personal songs. “Every single piece is special to me,” LaRocca says, “I laid out all the feelings I was going through.” Fifty-one percent of the proceeds from sales will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The CD has received airplay on KINK radio, and is available at Music Millennium, Barnes and Noble’s Lloyd Center location or online: Click Here