Austin, Texas based singer-songwriter Jo James is back today with the release of his new song, ‘Street Lights’!
This new song is a harmonious mix of Jo’s musical style. Influenced by R&B, Soul, and Blues, Jo James captures a feeling of serenity through his powerful song writing and smooth vocals in ‘Street Lights’.
The stunning instrumentation complements his vocals by adding a dynamic layer to the already sonically impressive song, taking listeners on a journey from beginning to end.
Jo James’ latest single “Street Lights” carries on in the same tradition he’s established with his earlier songs. I think he tackles different directions though without ever losing the sound and approach bringing him to the dance. Some listeners may not relate to his appeal. There’s no doubt James takes a very stylized approach to performing.
It isn’t just meaningless tinsel, however. The glitter and lights put off by “Street Lights” is low key and eminently tasteful. There’s no doubt James surround himself with talented cohorts and they help him realize his musical ambitions, but you never get the sense any aesthetic but James’ own guides the development of this tune.
His vocal delivery will have across the board appeal. Some naysayers may crave a little more unbridled emotion from James, less playing it so self-consciously cool, but that’s a severe read on the tune. Many more will hear his vocal as a sensitive reading of difficult human experiences who have all endured to one degree or another.
The jazz inflections heard throughout the song are a delight. James bookends the song with more rugged textures while the midway point has an airier gait. There’s no lack of instrumental excellence during “Street Lights” but, for many, the piano work will be a standout element. Overall, however, the single is an excellent example of a singer working with a band who approach music as a group experience rather than a virtuoso-led experience.
It’s tailored to be a compact yet satisfying track. It’s easy, as well, to imagine this working well in live performance; James maintains a busy concert schedule and it would be a surprise if he hasn’t already incorporated this into his setlist. It requires a minimal amount of arranging for stage and it’s easy to further envision audiences enthusiastically responding to its consistent power.
It’s dramatic without ever seeming heavy-handed. Lesser singer/songwriters would have aped whatever is popular in their bid for notoriety, but not James. He used a very visible television program, The Voice, as a springboard to greater notice, but never sacrificed his credibility along the way. Even if he discovers some eventual ceiling to his career, a point of popularity he never crosses, he can rest knowing that everything he accomplishes comes without giving himself up along the way.
We need songs like this in the aftermath of the pandemic. Let’s pray another wave doesn’t wreak further havoc on our world, but it’s easy to take heart when you hear life-affirming music such as this that, despite having qualities of a chronicle of woe, ultimately hits a triumphant note because it even exists at all. “Street Lights” is full of atmospherics but, without question, burns with a passionate heart as well. Jo James has talent that gets under your skin and lingers in your memory. Catch his live shows if you have the chance and keep your eye on him. There’s more this good and better coming, for sure, and you’ll want to be among the first to hear whatever he does.
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