||Samuel James is a performer of stunningly singular talent. A master of fingerstyle, slide,
banjo, harmonica, and piano, this phenom has just turned thirty. With musical influences ranging from Skip James
and Sonny Terry to Gus Cannon and Charley Patton, such understanding of pre-war blues is rarely embodied in the
music of one person.
But Samuel James is not a revivalist. His songwriting is unparalleled in contemporary blues. His writing is descended
from the long forgotten art of the songster. While musically one could compare him to Patton or Cannon, his writing
goes in another direction entirely. His songs are often written as linear stories, novels in musical format: O.
Henry meets Mose Allison.
“James is already a true master and this is one of the best
debut albums that I have ever heard."
-David Blue, NetRhythms, July 2008
“There are so many influences here, and I’ve probably missed a lot of them, but I would hazard a guess at Robert
Johnson, Big Joe Williams, Son House, Bob Dylan, Bukka White, and Fred McDowell.”
-Terry Clear, Blues Bytes, Nov. 2008
“Beyond the standard 'squeeze my lemon' kind of blues lyric, this is more like O. Henry put to music by Son House.
OK, that may be pushing it, but there's more to James' lyrics than repetition, and you should know that going in.
Johnny Winter comments on his 'great voice and a great playing style! Traditional blues done with a hip twist.'
Johnny should know.”
-David Kidney, Greenman Review
“James is still in his 20s, but he already has a leg up on Keb' Mo' and other more established acoustic bluesmen.
He's a terrific finger-picking guitarist and promising banjo player, with his feet serving as an ample percussion
-Jeff Johnson, Chicago Sun Times
“Samuel James was born about 50 years too late. With his slide guitar, scratchy vocals and vintage songwriting,
he sounds like Robert Johnson's little brother.”
-Lewis Kelly, Vue Weekly, Edmonton