Joshua James – From the Top of Willamette Mountain

The first thing to notice about James is how mature and timeless his songs here sound, at such a young age he is writing songs better than some twice his years. As soon as I heard this album I was swept up in James’ American-folk. Big and bold, the traditional band is backed up with a wealth of other instruments like the opener ‘Mystic’ which builds from the minimalistic to rousing crescendos. The tracks are multi-layered and it’s the little things that stand out, distant chimes, faraway voices and mellow percussion. ‘Willamette Mountain’ has a Simon and Garfunkel feel to it but mostly I’m reminded of Bright Eyes especially on ‘Sister’. So strong are the songs that even after one listen you will feel like you have always known them, it’s an amazing skill to write this well and one that should propel this album far beyond that of his peers.

willamette

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