Jason James Seems Like Tears Ago Melodyville Records JasonJamesBand.com
If you like your country music country—like we do here at Fervor Coulee—the kind of country that recalls Musicor-era George Jones—elaborately arranged and lush, but still hardcore, honky tonk country—with sweeping backup, and down-and-lonesome—tears, beers, and short-brained guys punching well-above their wit—Jason James is who you need to hear.
Entirely fitting that Geoff Queen’s pedal steel is the first sound heard on this impressive sophomore release. Since 1956, the pedal steel has been synonymous with the classic county sound, the uptown music of folks like Webb Piece, Faron Young, and all those who followed. That is where Jason James is coming from, a young man caught in a previous generation, writing and performing music with a countrypolitan sheen seldom now attempted. More assured than on his New West debut of a couple years ago, Seems Like Tears Ago is a confident, focused presentation.
Retro without affectation, James presents ten formidable, entirely engaging country mid-tempo shuffles and two-stepping waltzes. Every song is a new highlight waiting to be discovered, with “Move A Little Closer,” a bit darker, slightly foreboding than those surrounding it, standing out. Still, depending on mood and personal preference, the earning vocal performance of “Coldest Day of the Year” may become a favourite, as could “Achin’ Takin’ Place,” a rock-solid lonesome song made for a stool, stale smoke, and hazy reflection. “Simply Devine” is about as tender as the album gets, a gentle love song as sincere as can be, and “I Miss You After All” would have made the Possum stir.
Dale Watson and Jim Lauderdale would be proud of an album as vibrant as Seems Like Tears Ago. I imagine Jason James is similarly chuffed. A pure country beauty, this one is.
Review based on supplied CD.