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James Keyes / Blog

Live Review from 95Connections

NICK'S - where listening to bar banter shot from the hip is almost as entertaining as the music.

James Keyes stepped out of his comfort zone that evening, proving that he is not afraid to sacrifice the mundane to achieve a creative apex. In his own words,"You ain't got nothin' if you got nothin' to break your heart." Typically characterized by his acoustic guitars, James beamed with electricity, PLUGGED in and alive with a tomato red epiphone dot. With a singing style that is elongated , Raspy, and far from gimmicky, his sound is genuine. Not a tortured soul, but angst is apparent ; with the rhythm of a heartbeat, "Red Cent" drove the message home. His roots obviously began in American folk music, but the genre shapeshifts. With an inherent liveliness James boasts a magnificent performance that features strategic lyrics and a stellar harmonica talent."You've got Nothing" and "Black Ceiling" couldn't be more self-effacing. Ah, the lost art of writing your own songs.... Willing to accept what he has become, he performs with a boisterousness that doesn't apologize.

The lyrics to his songs are brutally honest because he has nothing to hide. His performance at Nick's is like holding up a clay mirror and reflecting it back to the audience.His lyrics echo of hard times, but there is a glimmer of hope inherent...always. "Dirty Wormtown" is a rewrite of a classic Pogues tune to suit his own hometown. Beauty is apparent amidst the poverty and decay. Established in the local scene and well-respected by his peers, James is doing, rather than dying in obscurity; a theme that strikes a chord within every artists soul. James plays every Tuesday night at Nicks, as well as other local venues.

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