James began playing classical guitar at age 7. He attended the QLD Conservatorium of Music, studying classical guitar and graduated in 1992. James was the winner of the Ike Isaacs International Jazz Guitar Award (1997) and was nominated for the Freedman Fellowship in 2005.
He has worked with a variety of bands and soloists, including Barney McAll, Scott Tinkler, James Morrison, Ken Edie, Dale Barlow, Mike Nock, Sheila Jordan, Bernie McGann, Simon Barker, Brett Hirst, Ingrid Jensen, Steve Newcomb, Joe Chindamo, Allan Browne, Jim Kelly and Doug DeVries.
James co-leads a duo with extraordinary Sydney vocalsit Kristin Berardi. James and Kristin have performed at major Australian festivals and venues as well as touring Europe in 2007 culminating in a performance at the Stravinski Hall for the Montreux Festival.
As well as playing or recording with such diverse artists as British guitar virtuoso Martin Taylor, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The Queensland Orchestra, Megan Washington, Katie Noonan and New York film composer Howard Shore.
The James Sherlock Trio is featured in the ABC TV Jazz Series "The Pulse".
He has recorded several albums as leader - 1998 Debut Album released on Jazzhead Records 1999 Volume Two independently released 2001 Southwall James Sherlock Quintet - Jazzhead 2006 Watermark James Sherlock Quartet - Pinnacles 2010 Solo recording due out on Pinnacles 2010 New trio recording "Domestic Arts" due out on Jazzhead Records.
James is back living in Melbourne. James plays a custom Hancock archtop.