Album Reviews

James Lee Stanley – Apocaloptimist

Beachwood Recordings

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81sP0hGJ6kL._SL1500_It’s unclear whether James Lee Stanley adopts different personae or he’s just a complicated guy, but many facets of this talented singer/songwriter come to light on this album with the tongue twister title (three times, fast, I dare you!). A consummate guitarist, Stanley has often collaborated on acoustic covers of the Doors and the Rolling Stones, but here goes (almost) all-solo, performing his own songs, with the exception of one seldom-covered Beatles tune, “Drive My Car.”

Much of this personal album appears to chronicle Stanley’s life trajectory, from the jazzy opener “Living the Party Life,” where he questions modern-day values, to his sex-on-the-beach tune “Last Call.” “When You Get Right Down to It,” I swear, must have been a soundtrack for a movie scene where Jimmy Buffett shares a doobie with Freidrich Nietzsche, yet Stanley can still pen and sincerely deliver the tender “Lullabye For Chloe.”

The instrumental “Etude in E Minor” highlights Stanley’s considerable acoustic guitar talent and it, with “Gypsies in the Hallway,” remain two favorites, although the entire album deserves an afternoon on the chaise longue, with a tall, comforting beverage and enough time to relax and get dreamy.

– Suzanne Cadgène

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