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James Louis Reeves
©2011 Independently released
Review by Lucky Boyd


Janis Ian once told me that the saddest thing in the world is for a musician to pass on without recording every song they know.  It’s good to see James Louis Reeves finally heeding the advice in that statement.  Reeves has been banging on that old flat-top for decades and with the help of friends, family, and some like-minded pickers, he has begun to immortalize his catalog.  You have to approach this album for what it is.  Reeves is not trying to be the next opening act for Toby Keith or Aerosmith.  He’s just a guy with a lot to say and an entertaining way to say it.  The subject matter is mostly light-hearted, leaning toward the comical in many instances.  Some of it is tongue-in-cheek, but Reeves is really good at getting a smile out of you in a subtle way.  His ambiguous delivery can be taken by music junkies as a collection of well-written and nicely performed tunes, but can be taken by lyrics hounds as a hilarious look at some of the simple things in life.  For me, there’s too much humor in the clever lyrics to just have this CD in the player as background music.  It’s a different kind of humor that has been missing from music for a long time.  Simple, straight forward, jovial, and entertaining, “Too Tough For Me” is an amusing look at the thoughts of most songwriters, yet too many of them are reluctant to admit such things.  There’s a serious side to Reeves as well.  His lament of the Deep Water Horizon, “Five Thousand Feet Down” is a haunting reminder of the Gulf tragedy.  I have decided that if I put out another album, I’d like to cover “25 Miles From Nowhere” as a blues tune.  It has all the elements required to be a bona fide blues track.  As a songwriter, I know that there’s always some little piece of truth in the inspiration for most songs.  I do hope it was only a small piece on “A New Man Every Night” as it is the story of someone you might not want to take home to meet the family.  The title cut always says a lot about an artist.  By title only, you would expect that “My Other Life” would say a lot about Reeves.  Instead, this artistic and beautiful duet with Leann Atherton is a dichotomous tribute to those trying to move on after a failed relationship.  Reeves dances with the jazz genre a bit on “How Beautiful You Are” and it works.  This is a respectable debut offering and listeners will be satisfied with Reeves’ purity, clarity, and faithfulness to his varied influences.  If Reeves is to heed Janis Ian’s advice, we shall hear much more from this song craftsman, and we shall enjoy each recording.  Until then, try to catch Reeves in a live setting.  I’m sure the stories surrounding the songs will be worth the price of admission.

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James Louis Reeves