High Times and Bad Weather’ from Leo James - music that makes you want to listen(September 01, 2014)
The quiet understated intensity that suffuses ‘High Times and Bad Weather’ from Leo James has to be heard. It comes through a musical weave that’s rich and vivid, filled with brilliant aural colour. This album makes no overt fuss, creates no waves for attention but offers a selection of radiant songs from an accomplished singer-songwriter. With a deft touch on lap-steel and dobro guitars, Leo blends folk, blues and country into 13 entrancing self-penned tracks. To partly explain that ‘touch’ it’s worth noting he studied slide guitar with masters like Philip Henry, and Hindustani classical musician Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya. To fully understand, you have to listen.
Leo writes thoughtful lyrics that explore personal memories, examine futures, set scenes and create illustrations. Delivered with gentle, almost seductive breathy vocals, he sets his songs across a finely detailed tapestry of elaborate finger picking and scintillating lap steel guitar. From the languid tones of songs like ‘Together We Ride’ and ‘Lavender’ with their enveloping lyrical and musical imagery, through the harder edged realisation of ‘Cruel North Wind’, to the evocative ‘White Flag’ and haunting ‘Nervous Disposition’ you're captivated.
Playing alongside Leo James (lap steel guitar, guitar, dobro, harmonica, vocals) on ‘High Times and Bad Weather’ is Sid Goldsmith (double bass, vocals) – who also recorded and mixed the album. There’s something about this album that engages. The lyrics. The musicianship. And an indefinable essence that makes you want to listen, and when you do you’ll find something rather special.
Find Leo James and ‘High Times and Bad Weather’ here: leojames.co.uk
Reviewer: Tim Carroll