Looking Ahead: Joshua James Plays Stage Door Theater Sunday
“There is a mystic in the mountains high above the Great Salt Lake / He’s dancin’ in the heaven far below his golden gates / He’s lookin’ at our cars below / And laughin’ at our rock ‘n’ roll,” sings Joshua James on the first lines of “Mystic.”
Strangely familiar, yet refreshingly innovative, James’ songs are said to be devastating in their honesty, working with themes that are intermittently elating, melancholic, and transcendent. He doesn’t so much perform these songs, as he does let them possess him, allowing his voice to be throttled from a husky whisper to a full-bodied roar.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like something I want to see! James comes to Stage Door Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Sunday, Sept. 21. Tickets are $18 general admission. CLICK HERE to nab yours now!
James’ first two albums, 2007’s “The Sun Is Always Brighter” and 2009’s “Build Me This,” topped the year-end Best of iTunes lists, while earning ecstatic praise from press. After the commercial release of his first album in 2007, James spent the next five years touring across the United States and to far-flung places such as Romania and Japan.
Watch the video below and see James perform the song, “Meet Me in the Middle.”
In early 2011, he headed back to Utah, taking a break from the road. During this extended stay at home, James took to vegetable gardening and raising goats and chickens, and he developed a heightened connection to the living things around him. The concept of becoming self-sufficient and living off the land became increasingly appealing.
When it came time to make the new record, James felt he needed to veer outside his comfort zone artistically and looked for a producer who could help facilitate this. His search, along with longtime friend and band mate Evan Coulombe, coincidentally led him to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, home base of producer Richard Swift (Damien Jurado, Gardens and Villa, The Mynabrids).
Holed up in Swift’s creative alcove National Freedom, the three of them took James’s voice and songs in unexpected directions, interested much more in honesty than sheer flawlessness. Recorded predominantly live over the course of two weeks, Swift strived to capture the immediacy of James’ live performances, without laboring over multiple takes or lengthy overdubs. After giving one or two impassioned live performances of each new song, James stepped back to make way for Swift’s own artistic vision.
“The writing and recording of this record has been a time of transition and realization for me,” says James, “and that set me free to explore other sounds and forms of expression. It’s been about finding a center and realizing that not everyone needs to see the world like you do. We all have differences. I love the fact that we are not all the same, nor should we be.”
Don’t miss Joshua James when he comes to Stage Door Theater this Sunday! CLICK HERE for more information.