Adam James has officially premiered his new album titled ‘The Willows’ on Jammerzine before its release tomorrow (August 27th).
Kicking off with ‘Shrug’, I can already tell this album has an aura about it. A sonic fingerprint that gives it a life all its own. While most albums start off with a kick to the face, ‘The Willows’ starts with a gentle grip to the shoulder. A reassurance.
The party starts in earnest with ‘All Summer Long’, a beautiful midtempo track that has that, by now, familiar signature sounding hook that Adam James creates with ease. Topped with unique guitars and chord progressions that water the mouth. Whereas ‘Shrug’ was the hello, ‘All Summer Long’ is the announcement to listen to the rest of the album in order.
The rest of the album is a special blend of memorable songs that are magic to the ears of guitarists everywhere and positive lessons in songwriting. The bottom line on what makes ‘The Willows’ such a good album is that it is memorable. This will stick with you. And, while you may change the order of the songs on your playlist they will still be together. Because they need to be. This is a good album in the era of singles. A rare breed.
California based alternative singer-songwriter Adam James delivers the soundtrack fans have been eagerly anticipating all summer, The Willows, on August 27. James has teased this project with three enticing singles that represent varying aspects of his artistry. Whether reflecting on tragedy (“Falling Upwards”) or delivering an anthemic, effervescent chorus (“Sleep At Night”), James set the standard for this album showing fans that they can expect vulnerability, raw lyricism, and intensely danceable beats. The undeniable significance The Willows has for James manifests in passionate, thoughtful songwriting and performance; this project is a pivotal moment for the artist in which he assures listeners that he is the real deal.
The Willows, for James, recounts a metamorphosis in his life from one era to the next. He tells stories of growth, risk, and reflection. Overall, this album implores fans to embrace exploration and to take risks. The songs on this album came to be over the course of years; listeners gain insight into James’ experience at different points in his life resulting in a profound catalog of lessons lived and learned. James treats listeners to a sublime collection of records that comes together in a cohesive story while each offering something unique to the project.
The opening track on The Willows, “Shrug” mesmerizes listeners with a relaxing, lofi guitar that marries the care-free nature of a beach day with the disappointment of a missed opportunity. James later delivers a tender performance glowing with earnestness on “Tangled Up In You.” The instrumentation on this track conveys a poetic romance reminiscent of classic love songs from the 40’s or 50’s in which listeners can’t help but melt. While fans have been more than satisfied with “Sleep At Night,” “All Summer Long,” and “Falling Upwards,” it is clear that all of the songs on this album meet the singles head on in artistry, meaning, and quality.
James perfected the sunny, California-esque sound embodied by this project in partnership with producer Max Allyn. The two worked together 5 days every week during a two month period in which they bounced ideas back and forth until they ultimately created a project that fit James’ vision. The result is a captivating, heartfelt record beaming with energy, passion, and truth. Though working through zoom presents it’s challenges, the team worked together effortlessly to build this record from the ground up.
This project represents a tremendous undertaking for the singer-songwriter in which he committed to focusing on his career in an unfamiliar way. James has participated in a variety of projects throughout his journey as a musician, and for him, this collection of records is the first time he is investing in himself as a solo artist free of restrictions. “This is the album where I bet it all on myself, got in the car and drove to L.A.,” James asserts, “ It means everything to me.”
Alternative singer songwriter Adam James cut his teeth on east coast stages and recording studios. He wrote and performed extensively in bands like the post-hardcore Sleep Bellum Sonno, Prog-punk outfit The Vigilance Committee, and his gritty folk-rock creative brainchild More Than Skies.
With influences ranging from The Beatles and Beach Boys to Cut Worms and Nada Surf, Adam’s musically intelligent and poetically vulnerable songwriting would feel at home on playlists among Beach House, Conor Oberst, Richard Swift and Death Cab For Cutie.
Following 2020’s “Lucky Dollar City EP”, Adam James’ solo debut full-length project, “The Willows” is due late this summer. The album’s dreamy California sound pays homage to his time spent in LA by way of NY; it is built upon slide guitars, synths, and nostalgia-inducing reverb-doused melodies that reflect his migrations between coasts. The LP intimately shares the emotional journey his dogged traveling and prolific creating has led him through.
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