Reviews & Spotlights
Peggy James: The Parade
On The Parade, Peggy James puts her considerable and colorful talents on display on 11 well-crafted tracks. Like the floats at the annual Macy's Thanksgiving day event some of these songs - five in total - are familiar and revisited takes of Peggy's favorites from her own catalog. Then, there are six new ones that are ready to fly on their own. Like any well-respected parade with a good name James has a way of coming around again and again proving that she is no festive and festooned fluke as this is her sixth album overall. Like her previous albums, many influences can be heard yet The Parade refuses to be easily categorized. And yet, The Parade is rooted above all in the ballad and storytelling traditions of American country music with a procession of songs that showcase quiet strength, fervent hope and unshakeable faith.
"Most of my inspiration for writing comes from observing people, places, events and my own life experiences," Peggy says. "When something strikes me as interesting, I try to weave a story around it and become a character in the story that makes the idea come alive-like an actor would if given a part," she continues. "Then I know I'm ready to write it into a song. Usually, the words and the music pretty much appear simultaneously as a rough draft. Then I carve the song until I'm satisfied that the emotion, melody and words express what I intended it to. The first song on the album, 'I Go With Me' is a perfect example of this process."
Peggy accompanies herself throughout The Parade on acoustic guitar. Most of the other instrumental tracks were performed by her producer and longtime musical partner, Jim Eannelli, who endows the music with its genre-spanning scope. "Willow" is old school country, not more than a few miles down the road from the Carter Family and other seminal country artists. "Thousand Reasons," however, has the cadence of one of those great '60s hits that hovered somewhere between Nashville and the Top-40. The title track, closing the album, is an anthemic rock song, the collection's hardest, most electric track.
Common themes recur throughout The Parade. There is the devotion that comes with caring deeply about another person, but also the search for direction and guidance in a time of confusion.
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Review by Rockin' Rich Lynch |