I couldn't be more excited for this Thursday's first-ever THE BANDCHASER PRESENTS show. My pal James Maple is returning to York for his second Sign of the Wagon performance, and he's bringing another solo artist, Elli Perry, with him. Judging by their Instagram posts, they're having a blast on this tour, and I can't wait for them to roll into town.
James is the sort of person who, within minutes of meeting him, you feel like you've known for ten forevers. His personality is so well-suited to the traditions and overall feel of folk music that I can't imagine him doing anything else (although his resumé includes such widely varied experience as styling hair, masterful leather tooling, and small-batch coffee roasting).
The tour comes on the heels of James' recent solo release, American Dreams , an 8-song album recorded at Dirt Floor Studio in his home state of Connecticut. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love a good sad song, and James is a master of the sad old country song. American Dreams is his first official release as a solo artist, and it's been in constant rotation at Bandchaser world headquarters these last few months.
I asked him if he had any sense of just how he'd come to be such a connoisseur of the Great American Sad Song, and he said it's a question people - his mother, in particular - often ask.
"I really don't know," he says. "I think because it's the most honest and stripped-down and sincere feeling you can find. Everybody goes through loss or death or that kind of thing and I think it's easy to be happy with people, but it's another thing to kind of share something sad or a hard time you're going through. So I think it's easier to put it on paper and get it out that way."
"Whenever I put on a record, I always gravitate to the ballads, the slow, driving ballads," he says. "They’re always my favorite tracks, so I feel like I tend to write my favorite tracks. Because I love listening to them, and I feel like one or two on a record is never enough."
Couldn't agree more.
James and I first became acquainted by way of social media. We have some mutual friends, and ended up following each other on Instagram. Sign of the Wagon's reputation preceded it and James reached out to me to ask about playing there when he was on the road this past spring. So often, touring musicians end up playing bars and other venues where people aren't necessarily there for the music, and it's easy to get lost. House concerts and other listening room environments draw attentive audiences where solo artists get to play for people who are there specifically to see them perform. Sign of the Wagon is one of my favorite places on Earth, and after only one visit, it's one of James' favorite places to play.
So I didn't hesitate to book him again when he told me he and Elli Perry were hitting the road. If you're in the York area, I cannot recommend this show highly enough.
My good friend Philip Given from The Susquehanna Photographic will be covering the show, and I'll post a recap here next week.
THE BANDCHASER PRESENTS...James Maple and Elli Perry
at Sign of the Wagon
154 East Philadelphia Street, York, PA
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Doors at 7 p.m. / Show at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $10 (advance tickets via PayPal)
More details on the Facebook event page