Russell James - Wave/Water
Review by Dom Vigil
The best songs are the ones that you can connect with and the best albums are the ones that tell a story, so it’s no surprise that Russell James’ new album, Wave/Water is an incredibly powerful and touching release. Spearheaded by incredibly vulnerable lyricism and filled out with soulful vocals and a timeless Americana/folk sound, Wave/Water tells a story of struggle, but most importantly, resilience. With a hint of hope to each song on this release, Russell James promises listeners that things will get better, and until they do, you have his shoulder to lean on and these songs to light the way.
With the sound of water and lapping waves lulling you into relaxation and welcoming you to Wave/Water, Russell James effortlessly eases you into this release before the music really kicks in. And kick in it does. The opening track, “The Slow Decline” does an incredible job of setting the tone for the songs that follow and introducing new listeners to James’ timeless sound, stunning instrumentals and strong lyricism.
Truly encompassing the theme of Wave/Water is “Ghosts,” which is about making an effort to lift one another up in our darkest times and being there for the people you love and care about when they need you the most. In a simple line - “We all need a hand to hold / It’s not just me, that much I know” - James acknowledges that we all have our own struggles, which is exactly why we should step up to help one another. This theme is touched on time and time again throughout Wave/Water, but most prominently during “Ghosts” and the emotional “Rest On Me,” which is about providing comfort for loved ones when they’re feeling weary.
Wave/Water is carried by hope and positivity, even in its most somber and emotional moments. Slower songs like “That’s Enough” are lifted up by warmer, more upbeat tracks like “Worried Love” or “Only Breathe.” Even “River Song,” which serves as a love song to the earth and a plea to treat it better, ends on a positive note. Although the middle of the album can feel a bit sleepy, it’s definitely worth powering through and listening to closely, as each track will tell a story or teach a lesson - you never know which one you’ll connect with the most.
Like water, this release is soothing and comforting. Wave/Water feels like it stepped right out of the heart of America, filled to the brim with soul, passion and optimism for a better future. Russell James has a knack for looking on the brighter side of things, and in this day and age, that’s something we can all use some more of.
LISTEN TO: "Ghosts" or "Rest On Me"
STAY CONNECTED WITH RUSSELL JAMES: https://www.facebook.com/russelljamessongs/