Part I of II... great write-up with stellar photos...
Alfred James Band: press
....I tried this with the debut full length by Ben Sollee, but â€œLearning To Bendâ€ was incredibly stubborn in that respect. I knew that Ben was a respected and soulful cellist with a lot of monster players as friends (which in itself created positive associations for me, being a fan of Philly local cellist and singer-songwriter Alfred James, who I am hereby shouting out), and I was ready and psyched for this release....
Alfred James Band
If you need just one reason to go hear Alfred James and his band perform, this should be it: James is the only cellist in the entire world who plays a five-string carbon fiber cello standing up! Okay, well, if you donâ€™t know much about cellos, that fact might not impress you. But when you also factor in that the Alfred James Band is a cello-driven acoustic rock group which has been compared to String, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews, it adds up to one wild concert experience.
The band is from Ardmore (hey, so is PLAY!), so theyâ€™re as local as it gets. James heads up the band, playing cello and the didgeridoo (!), and a combination of guitar (both acoustic and electric), dumbek (a Middle Eastern drum) and electric bass are added to the mix.
The Alfred James Band also recently received the honor of a nomination for two Underground Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Song of the Year. More than 25,500 albums were submitted (with 350,000-plus songs), so itâ€™s no small nomination! Also this year, NPR featured the bandâ€™s song Better Days on their show, All Songs Considered. Another career highlight, the band says, was opening up for Bruce Hornsby at the Kimmel Center in Philly.
So whatâ€™s the band up to these days? Well, theyâ€™re currently on a national tour of colleges and acoustic venues â€” and when theyâ€™re finished, theyâ€™ll get ready to record their second album. Their first album, Lucky If Easy, was released last year. Visit them at www.alfredjamesband.com.
Check out this cool review of our concert after the Boys Choir performance for the Mayor of Istanbul -- that's him in the other photo! Can anyone translate? Super cool!
Eclectic Band Hits Rutgers
The stirring sounds of the cello, didgeridoo and dumbek entertained students at the Rutgers Student Center Tuesday, as the Alfred James Band performed a free show sponsored by the Rutgers College Program Council (RCPC).
â€œTheyâ€™re a great band, I enjoyed them and the people really enjoyed them. We want students to come regularly and see groups like this,â€ said Rich Klumb, chairman of the RCPCâ€™s music committee.
The band wowed spectators with a 90 minute set of its eclectic brand of acoustic rock as part of the RCPCâ€™s â€œA Different Sound Underground Coffeehouse Series.â€
The series provides students with the chance to see performances by diverse performing artists as well as work with arts and crafts. In addition to watching the Alfred James Band, students also had the chance to handcraft pottery....
The band is touring colleges to promote its debut album, â€œLucky If Easy.â€ The album has seen success on National Public Radio. The albumâ€™s first single â€œBetter Daysâ€ was featured on an episode of the NPR program, All Songs Considered, where it received the highest ratings of any artist on the program. The album has also garnered critical acclaim from numerous Internet music retailers.
The bandâ€™s leader cites the success as a good thing, yet affirms that their music is a source of personal happiness above all else.
â€œYou work hard all the time in something like this and to achieve a kernel of success is great,â€ stated Alfred James, â€œBut we truly enjoy what we do with or without the success....â€
Along with multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Alfred James, guitarist Kevin Hanson and percussionist Hoagy Wing complete the Philadelphia-based band. The band offers a sound that owes itself to a diverse array of influences.
This diversity ranges from classical to world music, as indicated by the bandâ€™s use of various instruments such as the cello, the didgeridoo (an Australian wind instrument) and the dumbek (a Middle Eastern Drum).
Hoagy Wing lauds students who are receptive to their unorthodox sound. â€œIts good playing at colleges, because the audience is more open to new things,â€ Wing said, â€œEverybodyâ€™s ears are open.â€
The band won several new fans at the Student Center performance as indicated by the numerous students who obtained band merchandise and signed up for the bandâ€™s mailing list.
â€œTheyâ€™re really talented to say the least,â€ said Rutgers college sophomore Joseph Han. â€œThe music is nice to listen to, itâ€™s beautiful.â€
Merging the ringing, familiar and warm voice of acoustic guitar with the sensual, intense and exquisite voice of the cello, the Alfred James Band's release, "Lucky If Easy" hones in on a gorgeous little kernel of musical genius, coming up with some of the most visceral dreamy acoustic folk songs you've heard in years. With male vocals that speak from a place of precious vulnerability, this album is so easy to love, it's almost unsettling. It's like that feeling when you meet someone new and after five minutes, you feel like you have known them a lifetime. That magical sense of internal connection that defies everything logical and sensible and "realistic" is at the core of this music- a sense of wonder, of possibility- like those days you find yourself tearing up over just how damn beautiful life can be.
Interview with Alfred for drunkenmermaid.com!!
Wow!... What a great listening experience: a fresh new sound that defies categorization yet comes across right at home. Superb musicianship, gifted and creative arrangements, resonant heart-felt vocals singing absorbing lyrics and melodies that we all can relate to..... this project has it all. I honestly believe we'll hear some of these songs in a feature film someday. This music has a way of exquisitely weaving together generations, the old and the young; and genres, classical and folk, into a passionate harmony of the heart.