Jr. James and the Late Guitar | MUSIC: Homebrew | Indy Week
Pin It

Jr. James and the Late Guitar 

From the first funkified lick of Jr. James and the Late Guitar's new CD, you're transported to church the way it really ought to be. The opener, "American Dream," is a musical indictment of our Bush-wacked nation's communal sins, greed and avarice, and--like any soulful gospel sermon--it calls you to task even as it makes you want to shake your tush. Tyler Ramsey's keyboards burn hot as fire and brimstone, Samba Ngo ignites his guitar like God's own flamethrower, while Jr. James intones the capitalist mantra:

How much can you steal?

How little can you feel?

How much can you forget?

Jr. James proves he's a one-man band on "Cat in the Jungle," an instrumental safari stalking your unsuspecting psyche through the wilds of the American wasteland. Former Sugarsmack punk goddess Hope Nicholls serves up "sax and toast," surely the breakfast of postmodern champions, on a boundary-breaking, earthshaking medley of Stanley Clarke's "School Days" and Ornette Coleman's "Theme from a Symphony." Call it courage, audacity, or garden-variety insanity, but this mixture of musical metaphors works like a witchdoctor's charm.

Samba and Jr. James trade wickedly melodious licks on "New Colossus Dub Plate," yet another foot-shuffler that just won't let you stay still. "O-Mega" is that out of control 18-wheeler breathing down your neck, bright lights blazing, on a dark and rainy interstate: Merge, baby, merge. And you'll know you've found a local entryway into the international music scene when Jr. James countrifies "Egyptian Reggae" with, of all things, a mandolin. Natty dread, y'all!

As with Jr. James' first CD, Hymns to Her, eclecticism is the order of the day. Appropriately enough, the Late Guitar saves the best for last. On the punning title "Dublin," Jr. James' mandolin dances an Irish jig over a bouncy reggae beat. So much for "never the twain shall meet."

As you can tell by the title, this is the second installment in a nine CD series. As solid as Hymns to Her is, Second of Nine offers a fresh and irresistible revelation, a new testament emerging from the old. Who knows what sonic apocalypses await? If the first two are any indication, all I can say is third time's the charm.

Latest in MUSIC: Homebrew

More by L.D. Russell


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in MUSIC: Homebrew

Twitter Activity


I have "The Beauty of 23" and absolutely love it. Like most artists today, the lyrics for the cd were …

by lyriclooker on Glory Fountain (MUSIC: Homebrew)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

I have "The Beauty of 23" and absolutely love it. Like most artists today, the lyrics for the cd were …

by lyriclooker on Glory Fountain (MUSIC: Homebrew)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation