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Joshua James — From The Top Of Willamette Mountain (2012)

 Joshua James — From The Top Of Willamette Mountain (2012)

Joshua James — From The Top Of Willamette Mountain
A passionately crafted third album that resonates with a desire to look to the past for inspiration.
Location: Provo, Utah/Lincoln, Nebrasca
Album release: November 6, 2012
Record Label: Intelligent Noise Records
Duration:     37:23
01. Mystic      (4:04)
02. Queen Of The City      (3:19)
03. Surrender      (3:31)
04. Doctor, Oh Doctor      (3:14)
05. So Did I        (3:10)
06. Willamette Mountain      (3:29)
07. Ghost In The Town      (3:00)
08. Sister      (2:58)
09. Wolves      (3:08)
10. Holly, Halej      (3:36)
11. Feel The Same      (3:54)
Evan Coulombe  Engineer
Kyle Henderson  Composer
Joshua James  Composer, Engineer, Primary Artist
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner  Paintings
Bill Moriarty  Mixing
Cole Nielsen  Design
Richard Swift  Engineer, Mixing, Producer
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza  Photography
TW Walsh  Mastering
Website: http://www.joshuajames.tv/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/joshuajamesmusic
Tumblr: http://willamettemountain.tumblr.com/
Editorial Reviews
Already known for his 2007 debut The Sun Is Always Brighter and 2009 s follow-up Build Me This, James returns on From The Top Of Willamette Mountain with 11 songs that hone his own singular voice and further establish him as a formidable artist. From The Top Of Willamette Mountain was produced by Richard Swift (Damien Jurado, Gardens and Villa, The Mynabirds) at his National Freedom studio in, coincidentally, Oregon s own Willamette Valley. Striving to push his own artistic boundaries and bring in a new perspective, James sought out Swift s raw, unique style of record making. Swift worked to capture the immediacy of James live performances and frequently juxtaposes the songs darker moments with a light touch. His previous albums The Sun Is Always Brighter and Build Me This both reached #1 on the iTunes Folk Album Chart, as well as earning Best of iTunes honors in the singer/songwriter category.
In french:
Un bon disque d'indie folk rock, a découvrir.
Written by Hal Horowitz November 28th, 2012 at 12:38 pm
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
It’s doubtful you will hum many songs from singer/songwriter/storyteller Joshua James’ third album after its first spin. That’s not a criticism because James has crafted an envelope of sound to bolster his unique, almost choirboy styled vocals, that’s easy to tumble into. Thumping, cymbal-free percussion underpin many tracks, adding an eerie heartbeat to what are already pensive, skewed slices of American pie that can only tangentially be considered folk. It’s simple but never simplistic music with predominantly live in the studio performances given a dusting of production—with a heavy twist of reverb– from Richard Swift (Damien Jurado) that makes them seem beamed in from some mystical doppelganger universe. Alternately delicate, dreamy and unsettling, James sings as if possessed and his winding songs follow suit. The first single, the comparatively poppy “Queen of the City” and the following 60s vibe of “Surrender” jump out of the sweet, pulsing melodic fog with “So Did I” sounding like a great lost Bee Gees B-side from their early “I Started a Joke” days. Obviously James is not your typical introspective strummer and this is not an album whose substantial charms cover you right away. But soon enough they will, beckoning you back for yet another listen to peel back the onion of tunes that can be dense yet beautifully intricate.
Fortaken: http://www.americansongwriter.com/
By Bevis Man:
Score: 6/10
Score: ***
B-Sides: It's Dark Outside (2006)
The Sun Is Always Brighter (2008), iTunes "Best of 2008" Folk Album
Build Me This (2009), iTunes "Best of 2009" Indie Spotlight Singer/Songwriter Album
From The Top of Willamette Mountain (2012) US Folk #23
Fields and Floods (2007)
Crash This Train / The Garden digital EP (2008)
Sing Songs EP (2009)
Joshua James: iTunes Sessions (2010)
BEWARE! (2013)
Joshua James has been writing and singing songs for only six short years, but the 25-year-old heartland poet has the perspective of a wise, old soul.
On his second album, Build Me This, the follow-up to his critically acclaimed The Sun is Always Brighter, produced by industry veteran Shannon Edgar, James expands his musical palette to foreboding doom-laden hard rock. Progressing from folkish harmonies, to country twang, world beats and southern home rock while further exploring themes of spiritual searching and heartbreaking loss.|Possessing a whispery and intimate vocal style that works its way into the ear peacefully and directly, Joshua James is pitched midway between seminal influences like Bob Dylan and Neil Young.
“I find solace and beauty in darkness and depression,” admits James, who grew up in his native Lincoln, Nebraska, skateboarding and sneaking listens to music his parents banned, like classic rockers Jim Morrison and The Doors, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, “But there are contrasts to everything. You have to combine the sweet and salty, the ugly and beautiful. Music is very therapeutic for me. It’s all about making a connection with humanity, with the audience, in ways that I normally wouldn’t be able to.”
Over the past three years, James has been doing just that. His debut was the #1 Folk Album on iTunes, and “FM Radio,” a song about a childhood friend coping with the death of his father, amassed more than 150,000 downloads as part of an iTunes promotion. In addition to performances at Sundance, SXSW and CMJ, James has toured with John Mayer, David Gray and Ani|DiFranco, winning legions of fans along the way. His new album, Build Me This, has already attracted major–label interest. “I feel strongly about the things I sing about,” nods Joshua. “I want people to know how I feel, which sounds kind of dumb, because who cares how I feel? If someone feels similarly, though, that’s what I’m looking for. That’s the most important thing. If|you can relate to what I’m going through, then I’ve achieved my goal.”
The album title, Build Me This, refers to his dream of salvation. “It’s my way of asking God to show himself,” declares James. “To prove he exists. Do something. Give me a sign. It’s a call to whatever or whoever is out there. I don’t want him to strike me down or paralyze me, just give me something to believe.”
Aside from the spiritual, Build Me This is also about the difficulties of everyday relationships, the inadvertent hurt we cause to those we love. “Magazine” deals with the pain of separation (“Go take your bags to New York City, call me when your plane arrives/I’ll feed the children, wash the dishes, I’ll keep the house lookin’ nice/Well don’t you worry, everything’s gonna be all right.”), while “In the Middle” laments a shattered romance (“You’ve tried so hard to forget me/You burnt the letters I’d made/Though my memory has been dyin’/I hope the feeling still remains”).
On the stage, though, is where Joshua James’ music comes alive and reveals its true intent, which is about drawing people into his insular universe, a sense of mystic that only the truly great ones can communicate.
“Perhaps the darkness comes out a little more often that I’d like,” he offers “but that’s just where I gravitate to when I’m writing. I don’t usually try to tackle specific subjects; it’s usually about what I’m feeling at the time. Things start to come out, then they form a story and a reason, and that’s how things evolve. I’m influenced by everything… by life, by love, by hate, by music.”

Joshua James — From The Top Of Willamette Mountain (2012)



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