Songs Famed for Sorrow and Joy - Samuel James

 Catalogue #: NBM0043

Songs Famed for Sorrow & Joy

  Authenticity in blues. Sick of hearing about that yet? Perhaps authenticity isn't the main issue in the state of the blues today. Perhaps a more important issue in bringing fans back to the blues is "relevance." Is the singer saying anything that is relevant to today's audience? Listening to Samuel James live and on his debut cd "The Return Of Sugar Smallhouse," one realizes that they are listening to a rare breed in the blues world. A very rare breed. Here is a young man, still a few years away from 30, whose debut cd is a set of 12 original songs, and by original I do not simply mean "not covers." I mean truly original. This is his voice. Each song is a story, an often humorous tale, of love gone haywire, or small town racism, or a folk tale of mythical symbolism.

Samuel James is equally at home on guitar, banjo, harmonica, hambone or piano. He's a hard working individual who is steeped in the traditions of his elders but has already created his own voice that speaks with clarity and pathos to a contemporary audience.

Live, Samuel James includes some older material in his set, but when playing a song created by a previous blues master he truly makes it his own. His stamp of originality is evident in every song he picks. Clearly the historical torch is being passed to him from today's elder masters and yesterday's originators. Does that make him authentic? Let the listener decide if that is even the question. Samuel James is the most relevant young blues artist to come our way in quite some time.

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"Samuel James is like a time machine - the same one that keeps Son House and Mississippi John Hurt traveling back to the public consciousness."
-Portland Phoenix, Nov. 2006