Early James, some kind of strange alchemy

   El músico de Troy, Alabama llegó a Madrid, un día caluroso de primavera. Early James dotado de una extraña alquimia trae bajo el brazo su más reciente publicación «Strange Time To Be Alive» (2022).

    Hailing from Troy, Alabama, Early James finally arrived in Madrid one hot spring day. The musician, shrouded in some kind of strange alchemy, rolled into town toting his most recent release, Strange Time To Be Alive (2022).

   Como telonero, actúa Peter Barbee (Tennessee), interpretando a la guitarra una selección de temas compuestos en su proyecto musical «Among Savages». Uno de ellos fue «White Flashes», que estuvo dedicado a su abuela que padeció alzheimer y con la que convivió un tiempo. Así querría que le recordaran, como la esencia de algo luminoso y feliz.

    Before the main act, Peter Barbee (Tennessee) came out to play a short set of songs from his project called Among Savages. This time, just a man and his guitar. One of the songs, called «White Flashes», he dedicated to his grandmother, who lived with him while she suffered from Alzheimer’s. He mentioned to the mesmerized crowd that the song represents how he wants to remember her and those times, the essence of something bright and happy, instead of the sad moments he watched her go through.

   Algo fuera de lo común es que desde hace quince días, Peter es además bajista de la banda de Early James en su gira española con todo lo que eso conlleva.

    We were shocked to find out that only fifteen days ago, Peter was asked to substitute the original bassist and play the bass for the Early James band, with all you can imagine that this entails. The fact that they’ve only known each other two weeks and sound so tight is quite extraordinary.


   Sube por fin al escenario Early James, un músico a todas luces fuera de su género. Dotado de grandes cualidades para la música, es incisivo, curioso, tenaz, perseverante, joven, irónico, encantador, pero sobre todo destacaría su gran amor por la música. Un compositor excelente con una voz endiabladamente profunda con amplios giros y estilos. Su música tiene tantas influencias que es difícil definir: Blues, Bluesgrass, Folk tradicional, Rock, Country Clásico, Alt-Country, Soul grasiento, Gótico-Sureño, como él mismo dice: «Trato de robar y absorber tanta música como sea posible y tratar de combinarla.»

    Then it was time for the long-awaited Early James to take center stage; a musician clearly outside-the-box in terms of genre. Steeped in a special kind of musical quality, he is also penetrating, curious, tenacious, persevering, young, ironic and charming. But, above all, his great love for music stands out more than anything else. James is an excellent songwriter with a devilishly deep voice that twists and turns lavishly and a style drenched in all sorts of different kinds. In fact, his music seems to be so widely-influenced that it’s difficult to define: it can be anything from blues, bluesgrass, traditional folk, rock, classic country, alt-country to greasy soul or gothic-southern. He, himself, has said: “I try to take in as much music as possible and do my best to put it all together.”


   «Al sur de EEUU, Alabama, celebramos el día de San Valentín el mismo día que el día de la Madre, porque es sobre la misma chica. A mi novia no le hace especial gracia… A mi chica o a mi madre?» y se queda pensativo. Otra canción es «Straightjacket For Two» (camisa de fuerza para dos), fue su primera canción de amor y tardó 27 años en escribirla… y tiene 29. Las letras de sus canciones son muy sabias, como utiliza las palabras, como rima las letras con lo joven que es. Es muy interesante lo que escribe. Tiene algo muy especial.

   Before playing “Mama Can Be My Valentine”, he joked, “Where I’m from over in America, in the south – Alabama especially – sometimes Valentine’s Day is the same day as Mother’s Day, because it’s about the same girl. My girlfriend isn’t too happy about that… Wait? My girlfriend or my mother?» Another song he commented on wryly before playing was “Straightjacket For Two”, which he made a crack about as well, saying it was the first love song he wrote and it only took him 27 years to write… just listen to the lyrics and you’ll get the punch line. Speaking about his age, the lyrics of his songs are particularly wise, especially when you stop to think how young he is. There’s something about the way he uses his words, how he rhymes, the irony… it’s all so very interesting. There’s definitely something very special about this musician.


«Dan Auerbach es tanto un revitalizador de leyendas como descubridor de nuevos talentos, ya sea como productor o desde su sello discográfico, «Easy Eye Sound». Uno de los últimos diamantes en bruto que se ha sacado de la manga es el gran Early James, un tipo de Alabama empeñado en convertirse en una suerte de Tom Waits del nuevo milenio»

“Dan Auerbach is not only a ‘revitalizer of legends’, but he is also a ‘discoverer of new talent’, whether it be as a producer or from within his own record label, ‘Easy Eye Sound’. One of the latest diamonds in the rough to have surfaced is the great Early James, a guy from Alabama bent on becoming the new millennium’s Tom Waits.»

Próximas actuaciones:

-26 de abril. Loco Club de Valencia
-27 de abril. Rock & Blues en Zaragoza

Texto, fotos y videos: Ana Hortelano & Jessica Jacobsen



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