The Book of James Chapter One (my personal review)

My first studio album since 2006 is finished.

We started this process in April of 2014 and finished in March of 2015.

This is the first of FOUR “chapters” and are all songs I wrote taken from notes in my hand written journals over the years (with a few co-writes with Doug Davis and Sam Henley).

I recorded this album to be listened to from the first song to the last song.  

I believe in clear vocals, big group background vocals, bass guitar that sounds like bass guitar, electric guitars that are not over processed, yet very gritty and raw, and drums that sounds like real drums.

I believe in writing lyrics that actually mean something.  

I believe in a song that tells a story of something that truly happened to me or someone else.  

I miss the days of waiting for an album to come out from a favorite band so that I could unwrap the plastic and listen to side one (then get up and physically turn the record over to start side two) with anticipation or open a compact disc case or cassette tape case just to smell the new ink print and READ the notes inside. Back then we had to spend TIME with our albums and truly LISTEN to them.  These days it's all about what's "free" or the current "hit download".  I am not opposed to downloads (in fact you can download my music at bandcamp, itunes, amazon and more), BUT I am a believer in buying a physical album and listening to each song, IN THE ORDER THE ARTIST PLACED THEM ON THE ALBUM...for a reason.

My personal review of these first 7 songs?  I love them like adopted children.
I can hear my breath between verses and the sound of my fingers slide across the acoustic guitar strings.
I can hear my voice crack from many nights of singing all those songs I didn’t write from the depths of my soul.
Corky’s drum style is SPOT ON.  He played exactly what needed to be played while Jerry Chapman (a fellow artist turned friend over the years played the bass guitar parts to hold hand with the drums as they should.
Sam Henley (who co-wrote “getting over you” with me) totally NAILS DOWN the lead guitar part of that same song with a melodic rock SOLO (yes there are guitar solos on my records) that makes me do the “stank face” and hold up both my hands forming the “for those about to rock we salute you devil horns” with NO APOLOGIES at all.
Susan Snow jumped in on two songs at the last minute (thank you dear) and added the most perfect ghostly, chilling background vocal harmonies to two songs- “late night lies” and “liars and lawyers” and now I have to listen to the chorus parts of both those songs over and over as I’ve realized I am now addicted to Snow’s voice (she’s a kick ass singer/songwriter AND a true human being.
All that being said… leads me to Mr. Doug Davis…  who was at the “wheel” on this entire process.
Doug was there when I brought the songs into his studio as acoustic demos.  He listened to “me” and guided me into making a record that I always wanted to make.  He then recorded this record with patience, dedication and love as if it was his own album.  He allowed me to record a song he wrote “liars and lawyers” and we put my own classic rock spin on it.  He played all kinds of instruments on this record as ONLY he could play (the way I wanted it to sound) including electric guitars, bass, piano, organ and layers of background vocals on top on my own (or the “wall of doug” as he calls it) and I could NOT be happier, more satisfied and pleased.

Many will hear this album and think how it could sound this way or that way, but it sounds like me and a band of local musicians with true soul, emotion and desire walked into a studio and played some rock and roll with real instruments, smiles on our faces and love for one another and the craft in our souls.  THAT is a good record and THAT is what I do.  This world can take that over produced, soulless, non lyrical, money making, big machine, corporate “music” and keep it far away from those of us who still desire to KNOW…  MUSIC.

If you have never heard me before, I hope you hear this album first before any other piece of music I’ve ever released.

If you have heard me over the years, I hope you will…  HEAR ME for the FIRST time on this album.

My journey has been a long one.

Writing, performing and recording since I was… 15 years old.

Years of experiences, lessons, relationships, marriages, divorces, blood, sweat, tears, finding and losing myself, yet finding my true self just before age 40 and being happier and more focused than ever before.

Do I regret my path to here?  Do I apologize for any of it?  Only if sweet, kind people were somehow hurt in the crossfire of my own chaos along the way, BUT NOT FOR BEING ME, FOR BEING REAL, AUTHENTIC, HONEST AND HUMAN.

That is what THIS album is about.

It’s more than my best and it took over a year to complete due to schedules and finances.

Thank you to all the folks that helped me by buying shirts, pre-ordering CD’s and coming to the shows.  Every little bit helped.  With no investors or “record company” I continue to do it ALL… alone, yet not alone…  because of YOU, my fellow family, friends, fans and supporters.
Get ready.  I am about to do it all AGAIN for the initial stages of recording and producing “Chapter Two”.  The songs are already written.  Now to the grindstone.

Onward we march, Mr. Davis!

James Vincent Carroll, June 2015