Blue Palace Records
It has been over thirty years since Jan James released her first album Last Train. That record gained her a rather large fanbase in Europe. With creative partner guitarist Craig Calvert by her side, her latest and twelfth release Time Bomb is drenched with feeling and soul. James’ musical-wheelhouse is centered in American roots, and embraces each petal: R&B, Soul, Country, Rock, and Blues. Produced by Calvert, the album features thirteen original tracks cowritten by James and Calvert. With James on vocals and Calvert on guitar, the band consists of David Serman on harmonica, Bob Long on keyboards, Jake Loomis on drums/keyboards, and Brian Gephart on saxophone. Also appearing are backing vocalists Cheryl Wilson and Joyce Faison.
From the time the play button is pressed, I’m soaking up the feel-good vibrations of the Motown-esque “Swingin in the Sweet Sunshine”. This one surely takes me back to the classic female-driven vocal classics of the Sixties, and I absolutely love it. The bouncy rhythm on title-track “Time Bomb” quickly lures me in for brilliant track focused on a Miami street-walker. This song surely brings to my mind classics “Delta Dawn” and “Roxanne”. Serman throws down some serious harp to kick off “Blood on Your Hands”. I feel a strong Rolling Stones influence on this ripping track. It’s plumb terrific. “Love is the Answer” rolls in on a gentle wave, as James sings this with a soft and delicate approach. The blissful guitar solo from Calvert sounds amazing alongside Bart Kemp’s warm bassline.
James stated in the bio of her website www.janjames.com, “All of the songs from Time Bomb are inspired by the times we are living in. Writing these melodies and lyrics gives my soul comfort amidst this awful mess our society has created.” I can sure feel the comforting energy she poured in to this. It brings joy to me with each listen.
By Phillip Smith