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CD Review: Michael James-Everything We Used To Be

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Artist: Michael James
Title: Everything We Used To Be
Genre: Folk-Rock
Label: Radio Sky Music
Michael James Website

The first thing that hit me in a big way with Michael James was that his vocals reminded me of Steve Hogarth (Marillion) on several occasions. He has that emotive style that is deeply rooted in his soul and every word he sings he actually feels, then so do you while you are listening.

Everything We Used To Be is about relationships, the entire album encompasses you in the feelings and stories found in each track. If you look at the title, it is in direct proportion or parallel if you will, to every song. It sounds as if James based the recording on a beautiful relationship he once had and how it went sour, followed by the ensuing situations and emotions caused by the event. ‘”Room To Breath” says a mouthful and “Perfect Disagreement” is the road to divorce in any relationship, after a while it wears you down and you both give up and suddenly one of you is “Half a World Away” and the other is “Lovesick” with an “Empty Bed.”

While the words, punctuated quite well by James’ convincing vocal style make it all happen, the instrumentation ends up being the perfect bedfellow for his lyrics and tasteful nuances. The music creates atmospheres that fit the words like a glove, from brooding and sad to melancholy and ecstatic, the entire range of emotions gets equal time on all eight tracks.

This was very moving music and I enjoyed how real James made this for me while listening. It was like he (or whomever he is singing about) jumped inside me so I could feel everything that was being said. That is powerful stuff and it does not happen that often. Bravo Michael! You stole my heart and mind away for 30 minutes. Now that is what music is supposed to do.

© Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

July 16, 2005

1. Lost in You (4:10)
2. Perfect Disagreement (2:57)

3. Half a World Away (4:32)
4. Room to Breathe (3:55)
5. Lovesick (5:17)
6. This Time Around (3:37)
7. Room With a View (4:23)
8. Empty Bed (4:42)


The Band:

Michael James-acoustic and electric guitars, all vocals, keyboards
Bill Buffo-drums
Alex Browers-bass
Diana Gatschet-cello
Chase Norris-piano


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