SONGS FAMED FOR SORROW AND JOY
Wow! Talk about a modern bluesman that has captured the soul of old blues. One listen to Samuel James' new effort, and you'll be looking on the CD cover to see if this isn't a release of something originally recorded in the 1920's or '30s.
When he starts into songs such as Sunrise Blues and Big Black Ben, it's like you're in a totally different era of the blues.
The power of this CD, and it is a mighty powerful effort, is that it's just James and his guitar, a gravely voice that speaks from the past with such stunning clarity, you feel as though this guy is one of the greats of the past reincarnated. Comparisons to the likes of the famous Son House are a natural here.
What makes this CD all the more impressive is that James is still in his 20s, and yet he has so totally captured the heart of blues, he comes across as much more seasoned than his years. He has tapped into the soul of the music, and lets it bath everyone of the12-original cuts here.
It is impressive too that this is all original. For a young performer to have so perfectly captured an earlier style in his lyrics is amazing.
The best of the bunch, although this is a solid CD from start to finish, are the aforementioned Big Black Ben, Sugar Smallhouse, and The Sad Ballad of Ol' Willie Chan.
This is also a debut effort, which means two things; one grab this CD because if you love blues you'll want to have the first effort of this emerging star, and two, I can hardly wait for the follow up just to see what he can do for an encore.
If you are going to buy only one blues album this year, this is the one to-date to search out. An instant classic.
You can check James out at www.northernblues.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper June 25, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada