As a child, growing up in a tumultuous household on the south side of Chicago, music was a saving grace for Shawn James. Singing in gospel churches, he learned about the music of Son House, Robert Johnson, Otis Redding, Howlin’ Wolf—men who channeled the pains of life into something sublime. From there his passion snowballed, and as a high schooler he began classical vocal training and picked up guitar, piano and trumpet. It’s only fitting that all these years later as a fully-fledged singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, James took to Sun Studios in Memphis to cut his latest record, a legendary studio where he could pay tribute to the blues and soul at the core of his identity as a musician.
Today, Elmore is premiering “When It, Rains It Pours,” a track from On The Shoulders Of Giants, James’ new album coming out on June 17th. James notes of the track’s inspiration, “Sometimes life throws so much at you, it’s hard to keep your head up. “When It Rains, It Pours” is a song reflecting on the hard times we have to go through to reach greener pastures.” The intensity for which James has become known is in full force in the song, which, though simple in its lyrics, carries a searing heat at its core. A slightly muddy, raw production lends the track an old-school feel, and this parallel to the blues masters of yore is heightened by the song’s stripped down, one man band instrumentation of kick drum and tambourine alongside a blistering guitar.
Pre-order On The Shoulders Of Giants here, and catch James and the Shapeshifters on tour:
Give “When It Rains It Pours” a spin below.