Jeau James – Fated
This CD features 8-tracks including a nice reinvention of a classic Doors song “Hello, I Love You.” The Los Angeles-based singer Jeau James (lead guitar/bass) has some smoky vocals stirred in with his slinky guitar. Part Lenny Kravitz, part Jimi Hendrix & produced by 2-time Grammy Award nominee Eric Corne (backing guitar/vocals).
The album Fated (Drops June 16–Lord Vinyl/Forty Below Records) cooks from the start but does have a distinct formula approach. The songs — well-played & performed with genuine fervor follow tried & true recipes of this genre of music.
While James’ isn’t an entirely deep seeded blues artist (Stevie Ray Vaughn, John Campbell) he adds enough funk, confident rock guitar & rambunctious assertive vocalizing that he delicately treads through this enduring style with flair.
Not everything works but many hit the target regardless & there are enough well-deserved vivid juke joint blustery soulful blues to render Mr. James’ authenticity. Some songs need a little better focus to step away from the expected harmonic cues & drive harder into a more creative area – which sounds like Jeau has but prefers to play it safe by staying on the surface where audiences are attentive instead of diving deep & giving them more gutsiness. It’s like the difference between polyester & cotton. Both have their benefits, but some song fibers need to breathe.
The guitar solo on “Pray” possesses the hottest, crunchiest playing & Kenny’s drums are tightly woven through the break. This is a keeper. Even the vocals sound far more inspired here.
With the tune “Rock Hard & Roll,” Jeau’s intonation on some words is pure Mick Jagger in his disco-Some Girls-phase. There are asides where the vocalizing has the flexibility of Terence Trent-Darby. “Is This History,” is framed by some juicy guitar as Jeau sings more in a soulful demeanor & keeps the tune silky. The guitar solo is fluid & affirming. It’s one of the slower tunes on the LP yet the most impressive.
Highlights – “Pray,” “River,” “Is This History,” “Another Night,” & “Rock Hard & Roll.”
Musicians – Carl Byron (Hammond B3) & Kenny Aronoff (drums).
Color CD image by Mark Maryanovich. The 32-minute CD @ https://jeaujames.com/jeau-james