Russell James – Only Breathe
Russell James – Only Breathe
With the release of full-length Wave/Water album, Russell James takes on a few classic genres, and gives them a spin… Lush with addicting progressions, an edgy but soulful vocal approach, and straight-forward rock, the record boasts the aesthetic of alternative folk anthems. Although songs are diverse from one and another, there is a glue that holds them all together much like any concept album would. Most importantly, the record never loses sight of the emotional platform great songs are built from.
The first single, “Ghosts”, immediately grabs you with its pop sensibility, followed by passionate and catchy vocal melodies, and a unique chorus that allows the track to breathe while it plays on.
“When I was in graduate school, I read a book called In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté. He describes addictions as hungry ghosts and I expand the definition to include traumas and adverse experiences. As Dr. Maté writes, the only way we can live with these ghosts is through human connection, and this is the main point of the song. Musically, Ghosts previews diving into a deeper pool of ambient and electronic soundscapes to couch my songs.” explains the songwriter of his single.
Although the single does speak volumes for the album, to get a real understanding of where James is coming from, it should be heard in its entirety. With songs ranging from Dream Pop and New Wave, to Shoegaze and Folk, there is something for everyone.
“This album sounds big. It was meticulously crafted over a period of six months, whereas most of my previous work was done live without much fuss, working over one weekend”, says the band of the songwriting process for the record. I had a concrete vision of the work I wanted to put out and executed the vision exactly as I imagined it, which took a lot of patience. The sonic shape of the album is quite different than my previously released works, utilizing synthesizers and a lot of guitar effects and tracking, although some discreet listeners will hear roots of Wave/Water on both previous releases.” says James of creating the album.
Having a particular love for music from a young age, Russell James started writing songs and performing live at 16. Relocating at 26 from Lancaster PA to Albuquerque NM to focus on his music further he eventually put together a band dubbed The Porter Draw, a NM Americana mainstay. Spending years playing gigs around the Southwest while pursuing graduate degrees in counseling all while working as a psychotherapist, the songwriter ended up leaving both the workforce and The Porter Draw and began touring in 2016. It was the start of 2017 that James began work on the Wave/Water album. Studying and working as a psychotherapist enabled his passion for mental health to shine through. As a result, the release is a testament to where he is at with his sound right now.