Sunday, 31 March 2019

Shawn James - The Dark & The Light, album review

I'm Proclaiming

More rock and raw as James puts it, and as I have reviewed here before, and on opener Orpheus added horns are an enabling amplification.

The vocal is potent as ever: soulful on that opener; falsetto-sweet to start on second Love Will Find a Way I, merging into emotive harmony in this autobiographical account of a father lost when James was 5 years old, and the bitter history, for various reasons, that pervades; and it segues into the third track which is part II of the same song, the rousing harmony as link and then a lamenting, soaring ballad intoning the hope of its title, returning to falsetto for its yearning line.

Fourth There It Is brings back the horns to introduce, and this soulful song continues the introspection delivered in the honest projection of James’ powerful singing. The Weak End puns to a more acoustic and gentle aside, though it does rise to its concluding with pedal steel attending. Sixth Burn the Witch broods in a bluesy, Country-whistled storytelling. A stomp blues haunts Haunted, fine slide supporting the vocal's tune-mapping glide. And just how beautiful are eighth The Curse of the Fold, ninth Chicago, and closer When I'm Gone...

This is another fine work in the oeuvre of an artist who deserves more public proclaiming of his excellence.

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