Down and Out

by Angela James

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"The title suggests despondency, but Angela James’s debut EP, Down and Out, transcends cry-in-your-beer country. In her hands, Americana is something best delivered with care, slowed to a crawl and unspooled gently, yielding dusty, delicate passages that put you in a sleepy honky-tonk. The singer-guitarist, who moonlights in Judson Claiborne, carries an old-fashioned charm, and her voice bears ample trace of her Tennessee roots. While usually suffused with a quiet dignity, she occasionally reveals a rugged bite not unlike Neko Case, though James works in a more traditional mode. “Wanna Be Lyin with You,” a rustic waltz, sounds timeless, and swooning pedal steel illuminates “Fortress,” while the title track layers that instrument with Katie Wiegman’s vibraphone for an effect that’s at once ominous and luminescent. Far from down and out, these songs suggest an artist on the up and up."
-Areif Sless-Kitain, Time Out Chicago


released November 10, 2012

Angela James - acoustic and electric guitar, vocals
Jordan Martins - electric guitar, steel guitar, and synth
Justin Brown - pedal steel guitar
Anthony Burton - bass
Charles Rumback - drums, piano
Katie Wiegman - virbaphone
Dan Mohr - piano

All songs written by Angela James with Jordan Martins
Produced by Angela James, Jordan Martins and Charles Rumback

Recorded by Benjamin Balcom at Minbal & Erik Hall at the Schoolhouse
Mixed by Benjamin Balcom at Minbal
Mastered by Shelly Steffens at Chicago Mastering Service

Photography by Jordan Martins
Quilt Squares by Hattie James
Printing and Design by Sonnenzimmer

This project is partially supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.



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Angela James Chicago, Illinois

Angela James’ music brings to mind the rich, deep voices of artists like Patsy Cline and Rosanne Cash with the narrative sensibility of more modern female troubadours like Neko Case and Cat Power. Traditional and hip, artful and sometimes avant-garde, her songs come from a place far more youthful and inquisitive than most people might think. ... more

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