This magnificent debut album from singer-songwriter Melissa James announces not just the arrival of a remarkable new voice, but a writing partnership which has really taken flight.
Of the album’s 13 tracks, 11 are penned by James in collaboration with her writing partner and keyboard, Ross Lorraine. Whether channeling Cassandra Wilson’s Delta blues on Eric Bibb’s ‘Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down’ or drawing on gospel influences in the terrific ‘I Need You Here’, James takes all of her musical loves – jazz, blues, soul, folk – and wraps them up into songs that achieve an astonishing array of moods and emotions.
There’s some lovely instrumental detail too, such as Matt Park’s slide guitar work on ‘Precious Time’, Damon Brown’s muted trumpet filigree on an intimate arrangement of the album’s other cover, Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ and Tony Kofi’s great baritone sax work on bonus track ‘Have A Good Day’.
Peter Quinn – Jazzwise Magazine, August 2012