Tom James is just 22 years old and hails from Falmouth in Cornwall. His latest EP displays a range of styles over its five tracks, with a folky feel and a good ear for melody apparent across them all. But what really stands out is the quality of James’ guitar work. Showing skills on both acoustic and electric guitars that belie his youth, James is quite the maestro.
The title track Blood To Gold has some great harmonies and finger picking acoustic guitar work that really impresses. The big chorus takes this one into folk rock territory and James does it very well. Layers follows, a deep song lyrically, and the bursts of electric guitar add emphasis. It’s not quite full on rock, but these licks have bite.
Bloom is perhaps the weakest of the songs on the EP, never really growing from a nice acoustic intro. Gentle Man sees James in mellow mood, a tender quality to his melodic vocals over more great guitar picking. The song builds nicely, a touch of power towards the ends showing that there is vocal power here too.
The closing Red Flare White Grain is an older song and James displays a much wider vocal range, hitting some high notes very well. The guitar runs behind the vocals are fluid and exciting and the ever changing pace makes this an always interesting track.
Tom James has some good songwriting skills allied to an expressive voice. But it is his guitar skills that make him stand out from many other folk pop singers. And reviews of his live shows indicate that he is even more impressive on stage that he is on this very good EP.
Venue: Blood To Gold EP
Support Band: Indie Kitchen Records