James – Hey Ma – A [Sorta] Review

I am not one to review records. For the most part. I do like reviewing local bands. It’s fun. And I like supporting the good cause.

But I have to break my stride. Well, I am not really going to review this new (and stellar) James record. I just want to make you aware of it.

James – the best jam band you never knew they were. Of course they aren’t potheads, and the word edit is part of their music vocab. So really they aren’t a jam band. But they do create their music out of extensive jams. So in that aspect they are really the true meaning of the words: jam band. Anyways, I digress. Let’s actually talk about music…

Somehow in the late 1990s and the 2000s James lost their way. They experimented with electronic music. Andy left. And when he left, the trumpet left. Larry left. When he left, the joy of guitar left. They became a band that was too underdeveloped and bored. Of course there were hidden gems during those years. Most notably on 1999’s Millionaires and 2001’s Please To Me You which the later maybe garnished one or two repeat plays in my library. But instead of talking of the past, let’s get to the present.

Hey Ma. It was released Monday. And I am telling you, this is a keeper. They brought back Andy. They brought back Larry. And it’s evident. They are back in the game again. Who knows what will happen in the United States. They were always overlooked. America’s loss. Of course, they are larger than life in the UK and rightfully so.

Bubbles – The opener track builds up to a great crescendo filled with yearning and hope complete with Larry’s wonderfully gentle guitar playing. Oh yeah, and Andy’s trumpet comes in and gives one goosebumps. Absolute beauty.

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Oh My Heart – It sounds like vintage poppy James, but I can’t really pinpoint the era it’s from. So I guess it’s really just new vintage if that makes sense. Tim’s vocals are amazing. Totally on the verge of melodramatics but still bitterly honest.

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Whiteboy – Again, it’s the trumpet that does it for me. And nice synths in the bridge. Eno rubbed off. What’s not to love. Oh and someone remind me again why Larry Gott isn’t recognized as one of the best guitarists of our time?

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I Wanna Go Home – The contrast to their pop songs are always the mellow creepers. Not creepy, but creeping. Slow buildups that take you home. They are masters of creepers. Their caboose tracks, much like U2’s are always held in a special place in my heart.

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You can check out their site here. Or you can order their record below:

1 Response to “James – Hey Ma – A [Sorta] Review”


  • jam bands dont have to all be pot heads just alot of their followers, they also end up being some of the most influential and creative people in the world, pleanty of jam bands spend hours in the studio doing what you call editing, but you cant edit when your improving on the stage, thats why its called improv. bands that play the exact same set every night are bland robots, jam band is the antithesis of that

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