Jason James is a singer-songwriter who is carrying on the long tradition of Texas country artists that have left a mark on country music. On the new album Seems Like Tears Ago (Melodyville Records), James shows that while he is not an old guy, he has mastered the old country sound.
You don’t have to hear much of the album to realize that Jason James makes old-time country music. In the opening song “Seems like Tears Ago,” his vocals have a striking similarity to George Jones. Despite the plaintive sounds of the pedal steel by Geoff Queen and the sad nature of the vocals, the rhythm provided by Rick Richards (drums) and Jacob Marchese (bass) is enough to get couples slow dancing. Like Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam, James has a real talent for making sad songs that you can dance to. “I Miss You After All” is another good example. The lyrics are heartbreaking, but the melody will get you looking for a dance partner.
This album isn’t all sad songs, however. “We’re Gonna Honky Tonk Tonight” is a western swing tune about staying out all night “going to every little dance in town.” The narrator won’t even be deterred if he encounters someone that’s looking for trouble. The vocals in this song are higher than the others, similar to Hank Williams’s high and lonesome sound while Cody Braun’s fiddle makes it perfect for swinging on a dance floor.
“Simply Divine” is another song that doesn’t fit into the category of sad songs. The tempo of the song is fairly slow, but slow doesn’t equal sad in this case. This is just a good, old-fashioned love song.
James veers into Cajun sounds with “Cry on the Bayou.” One of the reasons the narrator is going to cry is because he gets a six pack and a can of worms only to throw his line and find the creek has run dry. This is an upbeat waltz that features accordion and Chris C Cook on the rubboard. You might just want a plate of jambalaya after dancing to this tune.
James is without question a talented songwriter. This album is a perfect counterpoint to a lot of the pop country that comes out of Nashville. It’s fair to say that James seems destined to be a country star. Seems Like Tears Ago will be available everywhere on October 4. Find more here: https://www.jasonjamesband.com