Review: The Stuart James Band – Changing Lanes

Posted on: Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stuart James Band CD Cover

The Stuart James Band – Changing Lanes
(Sighthound Records: No Number)

Having being formed in 2007, the Stuart James Band rose rapidly from the pub scene to playing in clubs and at festivals, sharing stages with the likes of Joe Bonamassa and Dr Feelgood and undertaking a tour of The Netherlands and Belgium. However, just as a bright future beckoned, increasing work commitments led to the band’s separation. A resurgence occurred in late 2010 and, after some solo performances, Mansfield-born, singer/guitarist Stuart James reformed his band, initially recruiting his brother, Junior, on bass guitar.

Changing Lanes comprises seven tracks, all written by Stuart James – one in collaboration with Junior and one with F Collins. On the album, the brothers are joined by Chad Marriott on keyboards and Mark Vincent on drums on all but the seventh track, which features the band’s current drummer, Spencer Blackledge.

Two hard-driven blues-rock numbers open the album – the title track and “Jagerblind” – before the pace is eased by the slow and plaintive “Take This Love”, with Chad Marriott admirably setting the mood on keyboards. “Funky #1 2011” delivers what it says on the label, the funky mood expertly established by the rhythm section. “Who’s To Blame?” returns to the heavier blues-rock mode, with Stuart providing a particularly impressive guitar solo. A second lament, “Admit It”, is backed by a gentler, acoustic guitar accompaniment in contrast to the heavy rocking ambience of the final track, “Fool For Those Faces”.

On top of appearances with King King, Sherman Robertson and Hamilton Loomis, this album represents another significant step in the band’s burgeoning progress.

Lionel Ross

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