James’ songs reflect his meditative, monkish kinda way of life. He’s highly ritualized, level, meticulous, focused. He leans to the past and loss; loves water, explorers, ideas like levitation, silver light, and slack water; long, drawn out, warm sounds. Every morning he writes, then practices piano, then guitar, then eats the same breakfast, then writes again at a coffee shop. He’s also funny and finds life absurd…he aspires to communicating that in music alongside the more carefully crafted ~ Western Transport ~ stuff. It’s coming.
~ Western Transport ~ is the genre of James’ music as described by long time friend, collaborator Katherine Peacock. This was in response to him calling it ~ Beauty Punk ~ as in, a fuck you to the idea that rebellion comes only from angst and irreverence, particularly when you’re surrounded almost entirely by alternative lifestyles. Like, fuck rocking loud, I’m making quiet beauty. But that’s a standoffish definition. Katherine was right. This music is far more escapist than that. It’s an aeronautical transportation device. It’s not transport as in truck, but it’s moving similarly across a landscape, a prairie probably, with steady eyes on the horizon, only it’s not a real world. It’s silver-lit and fantastical. He’s no country boy, but was, and his heart’s there. They’re folk songs but they’re cast at a distance, dressed with the unease, dizziness, and tension felt when reaching at heritage, culture, history from this rather fucked time and place and identity. They’re equally reverent to tradition as they are disgusted by it.
Mostly James’ songs are landscapes, changing slowly. Nothing jerks, nothing jagged. Everything is round, and moves in waves. He’s stoic, soft-spoken, calculated, unflinching. He can be over-ambitious, callous, not PC, overblown, other shitty things, because songs aren’t essays, not biographies. If an argument is made it’s rooted in emotion, a passing feeling expressed in plain language. The goal is to be as clear and true as possible to whatever inspired the song to float out in the first place.
- Western Transport Music