Longtime musician and one-time North Bay resident Markus James was always a soulful blues man with a raw and gritty approach to music. Yet ever since a trip to Mali in West African where he collaborated with shaman musicians, James has been a changed man, and his music reflects that in its afro-beats and rhythms. For his latest release, Head for the Hills, James went deep into Mississippi hill country, and this week he returns to the North Bay for a boot-stomping night of blues and roots music with a globe-trotting flair on Friday, May 8, at HopMonk Tavern, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 9pm. $12. 707.829.7300.