Monday, January 13, 2014
Must Know Musician Monday: James Maple
A few months back a mutual friend pointed me to James Maple's last release "American Dreams" and I have been listening to it constantly ever since. A great collection of songs written in the songwriter's vein with a bit of an edge. Upbeat, energetic and rocking enough of a performer to capture the rowdy bar crowd but sincere enough to play the quietest listening room. A versatile artist, to say the least.
Last Monday I was fortunate enough to share a bill with James at the Brown Bird Cover night at Club Passim.When James hit the stage there was an energy that filled the room. He really knows how to grab a crowd and keep them engaged. I can honestly say that I enjoyed the hell out of his performance and look forward to seeing him again and hopefully sharing the stage a few more times.
The album itself is a rugged depiction of a talented songwriter. A little grit thrown on some wonderful songs for good measure. Porch stomping and bar brawling carefully blended with clever songwriting and sincere lyrics make for a really delightful combination. The overall sound has warm qualities, delving into bluegrass, blues, folk, and country sonic themes while still maintaining a very consistent vibe. Maple is honest to himself as a songwriter and musician and utilizes his natural talents to the best of his ability. One of those being the rasp and gravel in his voice to weave tales that keep you hanging on to every word while your boot stomps the floor beneath it. Throw in some harmonica, dobro, and an expertly picked guitar and you have a great and enjoyable sound from this artist. Plainly put, this is just some good, good stuff here.
Don't stop there though, Maple has another collaboration with producer, engineer, and multi-faceted musician Eric Lichter up on his bandcamp site, as well as the falsely titled Mediocre At Best EP (trust me, its far better than mediocre). While there's plenty to check online, his live performance is something to be marveled and appreciated. Owning the stage and audience and proving that his home is on a stage performing for folks. Stomping, throwing his guitar around, and singing loud enough to stand a few feet back from the microphone, his onstage performance is a tour de force to be seen and heard.
Maple will be on tour in February, so be sure to check on his dates and get out and see him. Trust me when I say you won't be disappointed and certainly a new fan will be born.