With his new album Fifteen Colin James returns to his rock roots with a solid batch of radio friendly songs that work every aspect of his varied roots approach.
In fact Fifteen shows that James is maturing into an excellent vocalist who is not afraid to showcase his pipes.
Vocally, check out the gritty Stones vibe of Sweets Gone Sour, the ballad Shed a Little Light, an excellent cover of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy and also the funky cover of Robert Palmer/Allen Toussaint’s Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley.
On each song James varies his vocal approach. It’s no stretch to say James is feeling his singing as much as he does his guitar work.
On the guitar side of things James has never been about how fast or how many notes he can play.
It’s about feel.
The incisive solos in particular on Need You Bad, the Fleetwood Mac cover of Oh Well and the first single Stone Faith cut deep and true.
Elsewhere it should be said this is one of the best sounding albums I have heard this year. Joe Hardy simply knows how to make a great vinyl sounding mix jump out of the speakers.
On the player roster, the secret ingredient to the band lies in the melodic and when needed gutsy bass guitar of James “Hutch” Hutchinson. Think a more modern day Donald “Duck” Dunn and you’ll be in the ballpark.
There has to be at least 4 or 5 ready radio songs on this album. I’m Diggin’ written with Tom Wilson, the mid tempo gorgeous Love For Life and the Ron Sexsmith co-write Finally Wrote a Song for You are prime examples.
Put this disc into your vehicle and just drive.
JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, roots radio host http://emms.podbean.com/ and singer songwriter www.johnemms.com John also has fun with his blues rockin friends The Shaftmen www.theshaftmen.com