Authenticity and originality don’t always make for the most compatible bedfellows. Indeed, paying reverence to one’s roots sometimes moots the possibility of finding contemporary credence. Happily though, in the case of the Texas born and bred singer/songwriter Seth James, all those elements find equal footing.
That’s especially evident with the release of Good Life, James’ new album, a rugged and unabashedly assertive blend of blues, country, roots, rock, and Americana. From the sassy strut of opening track “Brother” and the loping rhythms of the catchy and danceable “That’s How You Do It,” to the soulful sentiment of “Little Angel” and the assertive strains of “The Time I Love the Most,” the twelve song set runs a gamut of heartfelt emotion filtered through unfaltering conviction and homespun appeal. [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]
Produced and mixed by Kevin McKendree (Little Richard, Etta James, Sean Chambers), and recorded at The Rock House in Franklin, Tennessee, Good Life resonates with an honesty and integrity that could have only been spawned by someone who’s known the toils and triumphs spawned in America’s heartland.
James sums up those sentiments in the title track itself. Written with Kevin McKendree and Bob Britt, the song represents the emotion imbued in the album overall. “It was important to me that this album had an overall positive feel,” James explains. “I always found it easy to be dark and brooding, but using happiness is a trick. Of course, it’s pretty easy to write happy when you’re writing with two of your heroes like Kevin and Bob are to me. “This song is a good representation of where I’m at now and where I wanna stay.”
On the other hand, the song “I’m Coming Home“ is the album’s oldest entry. It was also written with McKendree. “We wrote it almost 10 years ago,” James recalls. “From that day forward, we both knew we wanted to make an album together. It just took a while for the pieces to fall in place. However, I suspect that anyone who has to travel for living will find a home with this song.”
Over the course of his career, James has had the opportunity to share the stage with many of his heroes, among them, Percy Sledge, Little Feat, Delbert McClinton, Buddy Guy, Tab Benoit, ZZ Top, Little Feat, Lee Roy Parnell, Leon Russell, and Billy Joe Shaver. He’s released three solo albums, most notably 2009’s critically acclaimed effort That Kind of Man. In 2010, he joined forces with Cody Canada and formed The Departed, with whom he spent three years and recorded two albums. Ultimately, he opted to return to his roots and his primary passion, which was to fashion a sound infused with the blues.
With Good Life, he’s sums up his satisfaction succinctly.
“I never made the decision to be a musician,” James insists. “I just started doing what I loved and it got out of hand. I’ve been doing it ever since.” The results speak for themselves. [/read]