Music & Art

Tyler James: It Took the Fire

I’ve found some great music on NoiseTrade, an incredible service for artists and fans I’ll write about in another post. One such artist is Tyler James, who is sort of a blend between Jamie Cullum (his less jazz-sounding stuff) and James Morrison. Not Jim Morrison of The Doors. Another guy whose music is somewhat R&B tinged. His release Undiscovered may have gone undiscovered by you.

Tyler James’ It Took the Fire is definitely piano driven, as he is a keyboardist, but smooth acoustic guitar rhythm and bluesy guitar riffs are sprinkled throughout. One of my favorite sounds is the Hammond B3 organ that’s featured on just about every track, though I wish he’d played around with more diverse stop settings. It seems like instead of using a real B3, which is easy to slightly manipulate, he used a synth with a few B3 patch settings.

Light strings—sounds like a trio—add nice color to a few tracks, while brass makes its way onto too many tracks. “A Sailor’s Tune,” for instance is a nice ballad with interesting chord changes and key modulations, but the horns bury it—like Billy Joel meets Canadian Brass but with too much of the latter.

Though I appreciate the subdued approach, Tyler James won’t impress you with his vocals. No, it’s the mix of my favorite instruments that I love. Personally, I’d like to play in a few bands with different styles, and his would be one—but then he already has a keys player. See, his music reminds me of a band I played in briefly. We had skilled musicians on every piece—drums, bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and yours truly on keys—not to mention pretty solid vocals.

Back to Tyler James. Check him out on NoiseTrade. Since you can get It Took the Fire for free, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. If you do like it, leave a tip. Submit your zip code and maybe we can get him to play a show nearby. Hopefully, he’ll leave behind the horns.

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