MP3 James Irvin - ROCK: Roots Rock
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10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Roots Rock, POP: Pop/Rock
Show all album songs: James Irvin Songs
Its a solo album, literally, James is playing all of the instruments, singing, wrote all the songs, and co-produced this C.D.
When not promoting this new self titled C.D. playing solo gigs or with his new band, The Reminders, James plays drums for Microwave Dave & the Nukes. He occasionally plays drums with the Huntsville Alabama group, The Crackerjacks. The Arab, Alabama native is also a staff musician at Main street Music in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Early influences, Dire Straits, Buddy Holly, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, John Fogerty, The Rentals, Weezer, Marshall Crenshaw, 311, The Smiths, The Cure, Blue Oyster Cult, The B-52's, Nirvana, Van Halen, Ramones, The Ventures, Elvis, Cake, Nick Lowe, Heart, Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Razor & the Scummettes, His Dad.
The following review written by Dave Anderson, composer, producer and member of the bands 'Brother Cain' and 'Atlanta Rhythm Section' appeared in the January 3, 2008 issue of the Huntsville Alabama based paper 'The Valley Planet' (https://www.tradebit.com).
When I first became aware of James Irvin he was a newcomer to the pretty damn hip local rockabilly scene, playing with the Crackerjacks. He played solid drums and had the look down-almost as cool as A.C. and Jonny-almost-but, hey, cool like that is accumulated and he was only twenty. So, I guess you could say I filed him under âhip-new-rockabilly-drumâ guy.
Then I saw James play a solo electric guitar gig and thought maybe I had categorized him a little too soon. I categorically hate categorization and Iâm worse than anybody about categorizing. So, what with the surprising covers of Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw, Dire Straits, etc... I thought maybe heâs the âplay cool off-the-beaten-path songs heâs not old enough to knowâ guy.
There are, Iâm sure, people that have categorized James as the âcool young
smack-the-hell-out-of-the-drums bluesâ guy. This could be because they
only know him as the drummer for Microwave Dave and the Nukes. This
is no small task considering Microwave Dave is the only true musical legend to come out of Huntsville.
Well, this CD blows these categorizations all to hell. You can hear influences all over the map, yet they are subtle because there definitely is a cohesive, singular sound threading it all together.
So the CD kicks off with âFavorite Songâ. Okay, Iâve already heard this song on Jamesâ MySpace page, but hearing it as a kick-off to an album I
experienced it again like a first listen. Riffs...riffs...did I mention riffs? A cool
octave/drone riff worthy of Billy Corgan rushes it in. It is quite clear from the start that this guy doesnât play guitar like a drummer playing guitar. This guy plays GUITAR! (I guess at this point I should mention Irvin plays and sings everything on the record). As the last verse kicks in, the bass line walks down in a different way that builds tension just in case the listener has typical 21st century attention deficit disorder. The line âI could be your favorite songâ is worth the price of admission.
John Fogerty has said that a truly great rock and roll song needs a good title
first, and the rest should fall into place. âClassic Rock Murdersâ is as good an
example of this you could ask for. This song makes me wish there was a little
more attention to the presentation of the vocal. Jamesâ voice has that cool,
nicely imperfect delivery that should be celebrated rather than buried. A little
compression, less reverb, a great mic and mic preamp, and VOLUME would
take this album out of indie cool into conquering the world status. This record deserves the attention.
If a record company douche picked âFavorite Songâ as the first single (which would be a good idea-douchebag status notwithstanding!), âBaby Donât lieâ would surely be the follow-up. Great galloping drum groove...chorus you canât get outta your head...could be the big Marshall Crenshaw hit he never
had. âBaby donât lie, Baby donât do the things I do...Baby donât try to be less like me and more like you.â Cool.
This brings me to the point that Iâve never really understood why record
reviews talk almost exclusively about lyrics. The lyrics are really cool on this
record, but do you really need me to quote and expound?!? No. How does it
For one thing, it is next to impossible to sound like a BAND with one guy doing all the duties. Somehow, James pulls this off with flying colors. He sounds like the bass player you wish you had. Simple but commanding. You donât realize heâs there until he throws that clincher in. Perfect example: âCountry Tunes.â Deceptively simple, yet he juggles the chords and melody with propulsive glee. He truly understands that the bass is the glue.
Drumming...Solid...OK...James propels each song with the conviction of a Kenny Aronoff, Jim Keltner, or Jimmy Chamberlain. The beat is solid, but he
knows when to turn it upside down. His snare drum will probably be in therapy for years.
There is nothing more tired that an obvious parallel vocal harmony. James
avoids this like a late night drinker driving the back roads. The vocals underneath his lead weave and surprise. âGhostâ is a perfect example. Another is âLying Awakeâ, reminiscent of the Jayhawks at there best. And the guitar break...which brings me to what I believe to be the heart of this record...GUITAR!!!
Landscapes...the utter joy of guitar celebration on this record!! I think somewhere Johnny Marr and Jimmy Page-yes, Jimmy Page-are having
whatever cool cocktail Brits drink and saying âShite!â
The guitar orchestrations on this record are exquisite. âKnow Whatâ is full of
jangly guitars that ring like a bastard child of Buddy Holly and Peter Buck. âBaby Donât Lieâ has a beautiful cascading clean harmony break that
would make Mark Knofler give away his strat.
âFall into the Nightâ sounds like a band giving it hell, especially when the guitar break hits hard. Kinda like...dare I say...Eddie Van Halen drank some 40
ounce malt liquors with Joe Strummer.
Some of these references might invite a punch in the face from Irvin, but the mastery of guitar arrangements are reminiscent of the house that Jimmy Page built. 3D, panoramic...nice.
Above all these things, donât overshadow what the heart of any good record has: singable, cool melodies and fresh lyrics. These are in abundance. With the vocal production swinging for the fences, this record could make James Irvin a sizable blip on the radar screen. So now I will file him under ânew-forced to be reckoned with artist-not to be confused with great side guy that plays drums for other cool bands.â
Very nice, indeed.
by Dave Anderson
in partnership with CDbaby
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