Ginger St. James
One For the Money
Busted Flat Records
Labeled rockabilly—and maybe that is from where she comes—but to my ears Hamilton’s Ginger St. James transcends that relatively straightforward and limiting genre. [Perhaps rockabilly is similar to bluegrass in that to the uninitiated it all sounds the same and too easy.]
One For the Money is a concise (twenty-five minutes, nine songs) little package of roots music choc-a-block with country, blues, surf, soul, rock ‘n’roll, and yes, rockabilly, influences. Either St. James has been very unlucky in her pursuit of romance, or she has an eye for detail: either way, her songs are well-crafted, multi-dimensional portraits of love and its vagaries.
There is no doubt she can sing. If she gets a little Quatro-ragged (not a bad thing in my books) on “Hair of the Blackdog,” such is balanced by the vocal complexity revealed on “Honeymoon Stage.” Patsy Cline (and the entire generation of ‘girl singers’ who followed her) influence is apparent on “You Were Mine” and most obviously (and playfully) on the magnificent “Best of Me and You.”
St. James is supported by a group of musician unfamiliar to me, but SnowHeel Slim is given great latitude to stretch out his flair with the guitar, including on the instrumental “Slim’s Jig” and the set closing “Merry Go Round,” a beautiful song that features a great vocal performance from St. James.
Given my druthers, I could listen to the album’s first two tracks, “Pour Me” and “Train Whistle” on repeat for a couple hours. Heck, I’ve already listened to the album on repeat numerous times—a few more plays ain’t likely to hurt me.
One For the Money has been out for just over a month, and if you haven’t encountered it yet, head over to http://www.gingerstjames.com/ and give a listen.