Hailing from Lyme, NH, James Graham's musical trajectory has been one marked by enduring dedication. His songwriting and performance roots stretch back decades, originating in the vibrant crucible of New York City's East Village as part of the anti-folk scene during the '90s. A relocation to New England brought about a renewed chapter in his career as a local songsmith, gracing the upper valleys of Vermont and New Hampshire with his sonic storytelling.
Late in 2022, he ventured into the studio for the very first time, where he breathed new life into a mix of fresh material and cherished, time-tested songs. This creative endeavor crystallized into Every Day is You, a seven-track album that bears the indelible influences of luminaries like Jeff Tweedy, Neil Young and Bob Marley, yet retains Graham's distinctive musical identity. "Personality Test" kicks off the album, immediately infusing the listener with a buoyant groove, evoking an atmosphere of ease and optimism.
It resonates as the antithesis of weightiness, with Graham's welcoming vocals and lyrical finesse, straddling the line between poetry and narrative. Hints of Cat Stevens surface, along with an unmistakable Jeff Tweedy flair, as Graham sings, "I got a little soul / I want to let you know / I’m gonna let it show / My personality test came back."
The title track "Every Day is You" offers a reflective shift initially, before gracefully incorporating the carefree essence that threads through the album. It exudes lush, at times sensuous soundscapes, and simple, philosophical messages echo the shades of Cat Stevens. The song's title rings true and genuine, with a chorus that lingers long after the music fades. "Let it Go" introduces a delightful twist, infusing elements of Latin music and conjuring associations with the likes of Santana. The song revels in pure, unadulterated joy, with guitar melodies that resonate harmoniously with the irresistible horns and infectious bongos.
As the album unfolds, "Everlasting" emerges as the most reflective and nostalgic entry, weaving an atmospheric soundworld adorned with a diverse array of instruments, crafting a warm, glossy auditory experience. Graham later returns to his signature energy with "Truth Keeps Waiting," yet another demonstration of his knack for crafting compelling hooks. "Let It Go" and "Star in Las Vegas" exude a thematic connection, reinstating the album's warm embrace through the resonance of organ melodies, acoustic instrumentation and heartfelt vocals. Graham concludes this musical offering with "Pieces of Light," perhaps the most radiant track of all, laced with a touch of gospel inspiration. Though delving into themes of life, philosophy and profound subjects, this album maintains an exceptional equilibrium, ensuring it never feels burdensome. The synthesis of these diverse elements results in a musical experience that simply uplifts the spirit. The energy and depth within these compositions combine harmoniously, rendering this album truly remarkable. An experience not to be missed.
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