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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Seems Like Tears Ago'
Artist - Jason James

When Jason James walks onstage, he declares his love of classic country before he even sings a note. His choice of attire — embroidered suits or pearl-snap shirts and sharply creased slacks — offers a visual tribute to his musical heroes and the traditions they established.

But it’s not his looks or style that provide the most convincing evidence of his kinship with other giants of the genre. It’s his sound: the pure, honest voice of a singer who rediscovered his soul when he reawakened his early love of well-crooned waltzes and hook-filled honky-tonkers.

On his sophomore album Seems Like Tears Ago - releasing worldwide October 4th, 2019 via his own Melodyville Records (Smith Music) - James follows his self-titled 2015 debut with ten original odes that recall the work of his influences without resorting to mimicry.

1. 'Seems Like Tears Ago'
2. 'I Miss You After All'
3. 'Move A Little Closer'
4. 'We’re Gonna Honky Tonk Tonight'
5. 'Achin’ Takin’ Place'
6. 'Simply Divine'
7. 'Coldest Day Of The Year'
8. 'Cry On The Bayou'
9. 'Foolish Heart'
10. 'Ole Used To Be'

Reconvening with his first producer, John Evans (Hayes Carll, Corb Lund), James tracked it in just three days at Signal Hill Recordings in Dripping Springs, outside of Austin, with Patrick Herzfeld engineering.

Evans rounded up top talents for the sessions: Geoff Queen on electric and steel guitars; Reckless Kelly’s Cody Braun on fiddle; Rick Richards on drums; T Jarrod Bonta on piano; and Chris C Cook on rubboard.

Opening with the lo-fi title track, James ups the beat a wee bit for the twangy 'I Miss You After All,' which is itself backed by both the foot-tappin, barn-stormin' beauty 'Move A Little Closer' and the lovers intentions within 'We’re Gonna Honky Tonk Tonight.'

A lonesome, pining guitar provides the back bone for both 'Achin’ Takin’ Place' and 'Simply Divine,' and they are seamlessly backed by the pop-lite vibe of 'Coldest Day Of The Year.'

The upbeat, hipsway fun of 'Cry On The Bayou' is one of my own personal favorites here, and that's backed by the beautiful 'Foolish Heart,' with the album rounding out with the classic-sounding 'Ole Used To Be.'

"It was fun to make this record,” James says. “It’s crazy seeing these guys come in and completely get it. I mean some of these songs were two takes. It was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s how you make a record.’”

In fact, he says, “I went through a little bit of a postpartum because I was like, ‘That’s it?’ It was such an easy birth.”

The writing came easily, too, particularly after James moved “back to the vortex” — of Texas City, on the Gulf Coast near Houston. Turns out there are fewer distractions in a town with a less active music scene. "They roll the carpets up here pretty early,” James says.

Amazon CD Purchase Link