“I’m not a problem, I just process the world differently than everyone else,” shares Albuquerque’s Russell James as we chatted earlier this week. With a diagnosis of an audio integration disorder called hyperacusis alongside exploring parallels to the autism spectrum in addition to a personal battle with PTSD, depression and anxiety, the singer/songwriter looks to the hope of the future while reflecting on the pain of the past and uses that as a driving force to connect with fans through music. Influenced by early 90s shoegaze and rock including U2 and The Cure, James’ latest project is a full-length album titled Wave/Water which is set to be released this April and has truly been a project that has acted as the light at the end of the tunnel.
Although 2017 was an extremely difficult time for James who was coping with heavy depression, he was able to find a comfort in songwriting that appeared to be correct and organic. While he felt like he was living in the shadows for the better part of the last year, there was a source of light that was shining on the creative process behind Wave/Water. “Depression is always with me…there’s always an undercurrent of depression that will poke its head up once every two days even when I’m feeling good,” he shares with us. “I want people to know that because you can be in the darkest period, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.” The overall takeaway from the album is hope, it’s that simple. It’s the emphasis on the idea that no one is alone in fighting battles, even if it feels like it, because in the end everyone is pushing against something.
This personal growth and understanding allowed James to bring about a level of complexity and layering of new sounds that pushed him out of the typical singer/songwriter bubble. “My mental health puts a lot of occupational limits on me but songwriting remains unaffected,” he shares. “I get a sense of coping and healing from the creative practice as well as the sense that I still have something to give.” The good news is that James has quite a lot to give and today we’re excited to introduce fans to the first single off Wave/Water, “Ghosts.”
A track that was originally written as a song about James’ wife – who he has known since he was 16 – and how she has helped him every step of the way, “Ghosts” quickly developed into something more meaningful. When discussing the track, the artist shares: “Ghosts” started as a song about my wife: how she has worked alongside me to push back the haunting depression that doesn’t seem to let go. It moves into a broader statement (because those are always a good idea… insert eye-roll emoji) about how none of us can really cope with life alone, we all need help pushing back what haunts us.” Stream the single in the player below.
Russell James’ new album, Wave/Water, will be released April 20th, 2018. Fans can catch James on tour this spring, dates found below. For more information, head on over to www.russelljamesmusic.net.
2/22 Denver, CO: The Walnut Room
4/7 Las Cruces, NM: High Desert Brewing
4/10 Los Angeles, CA: Silverlake Lounge
4/12 Hood River, OR: Double Mountain Brewing
4/13 Portland, OR: Artichoke Community
4/15 Port Townsend, WA: Cellar Door
4/16 Olympia, WA: The Living Stage @ RL Hotel
4/18 Anacortes, WA: The Brown Lantern
4/20 Seattle, WA: Tim’s Tavern
4/23 Salt Lake City, UT: The Living Stage @ RL Hotel
5/15 Harrisonburg, VA: The Golden Pony
5/17 Philadelphia, PA: Kung Fu Necktie
5/18 Lancaster, PA: TBA
5/19 New York, NY: Rockwood Music Hall
5/21 Washington, DC: Tryst
5/24 Goshen, IN: Goshen Brewing Co.
5/25 Chicago IL: Acoustic Café
5/26 St. Louis, MO: Evangeline’s Bistro and Music House