It’s normally a safe assumption that you can tell most of what you need to know about a person by the company that they keep. So, when a young singer-songwriter can boast of work done for Dan Auerbach and tours in support of Nikki Lane—it makes sense to give them your undivided attention. Of course, there’s always a possibility that you set your expectations too high and come away disappointed. At the same time, there’s a chance that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The fact that Stephie James has worked with some of the best of the best in the business right now can’t prepare you for what you’ll hear. The great reviews and the shout-outs from other artists won’t do it either. You’ll need to hear it for yourself before you can understand what all of the fuss is about.
The first thing that stands out about the tracks on this project is James’ ability to draw from and embrace the past without being caged or weighed down by it. Some artists like J.D. McPherson, Nick Waterhouse, and Brian Setzer are able to go back in time, set up shop and do their thing. Others pluck what they need and bring it back home with them. James seems to be doing both at the same time. The songs have a timeless feel and an effortless grace that coexists with an electricity and vitality that can’t be denied.
With melodies that seem to be siphoned straight from the tank of collective memory and a voice that is simultaneously soothing and stirring, there’s a lot to like about the songs on this EP.