I’m not going to sit here and write like I know about James Lamb. All I know is that he’s from Nelson, and that his last name shares the same as an expensive meat that I can’t afford to eat.
The beauty of not knowing anything about him is that it adds a shroud of mystery. For all I know, James Lamb could be a hermit who lives up on a mountain and has a huge beard, or maybe he’s a guy who makes a living by busking covers of Neil Diamond songs. Maybe people even pay him exuberant amounts of money when he sings “Shilo” — I know I would. Whatever the case, it makes you pay more attention to his music because that’s the only glimpse of James Lamb that you’ll see.
His third album Imagineering sounds nothing like Neil Diamond. In fact, I’m not going to compare this to any artist because it really stands on its own and is one of the most original albums I’ve listened to in a while.
Keep in mind, I’m not saying that because I’m biased that he’s a local musician — there’s a lot of local music that I’m given and sounds like it was recorded in a walk-in freezer. This album is a welcome surprise, with top notch quality. It’s polished.
I could go on and describe every single song on this, but I won’t. The music industry has lost its touch with the “album” these days, and it’s all about the singles. One or two songs from an album are considered a success. Very rarely do you hear an album that you listen to from front to back and that makes you understand the artist a bit more. This is one of those albums. Even though this was recorded over a course of five years, it still has a cohesive feel to it that sounds like it was done in one take.
You’ll want to pay attention to some of the lyrics because there are lots of mentions of local spots that will put some amazing imagery in your brain as well.
Don’t expect smashing guitars or pounding drums on this one though because it’s rather mellow but damn, is it good. It’s one of those albums you should listen to while laying down, looking up at the ceiling while contemplating something important like: “I wonder if I’d look good with a beard?”
From the first note on “Narrow Valley” to the last on “Date with a Wrecking Ball”, you’ll sit there enjoying all the different mellow sounds that James Lamb creates. For that reason, this album may have squeezed it’s way into one of my top picks for the year.
Keep a close eye on local wonder James Lamb. If he continues putting out such quality as Imagineering, he’ll be going places. When that time inevitably happens, I really hope he records a cover of Neil Diamond and dedicates it to me in the liner notes. Then we’d be best friends… with beards. Beard friends.