Monday, May 7, 2012

Shayfer James is masterful at what it is he does

Shayfer James: Vocals/Piano/Stories/Arrangements
Dusty Bones: Drums
Jeremy Gillespie: Bass/Backing Vocals/Percussion
Dante Edmont: Organs/Backing Vocals/Percussion

Frequent Guests:
Peter Horn: Fiddle
Sarah Zar: Singing Saw

Shayfer James is devilishly captivating and deliciously unusual. A man of bewitching grace, grisly humor, profound story telling, and whiskey-flavored wit. Backed live and in the studio by his band "The Well Behaved", there is a certain power and mischievous charm that permeates as they take the stage. A sense of foreboding builds and as Shayfer begins to sing, we are immersed in his darkly lyrical and evocative stories. The piano-driven music swaggers with danceable dark anthems, harrowing ballads, and experiments in chaos.

I first came across Shayfer James at Those Mockingbirds vinyl release party at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, I had never hear of him before but am sure glad I stuck around that night to catch his set.  I was in a musical transition or maybe just rediscovering a sound I have long liked of storytelling mixed with an old timey vaudevillian, carnivalesque sound and was reconnecting with past favorites like Dr. John, Leon Russell, Captain Beefheart and Long John Baldry.  I was also at this time discovering some new local talent like The End Men, Don Ryan, Elephant goes West, Skeletons in The Piano, The Bailey Hounds and The Dirty Urchins.  Which, as I look back this is what lead to the Popakazooza Compilations.

Shayfer James is masterful at what it is he does, great storytelling in riddles wrapped in enigmas, with a unique sound and stage persona. I was hooked. After the show I did my usual internet archeology and found his Facebook page and other portals. Not long after that, from his facebook postings I found out he holds an intimate webcast on many Sunday nights called Sunday for Sinners, with him and an occasional guest from his home at the piano. I now never miss an episode.
He seems to be a prolific song writer with quite a body of work in the last four years, when recently asked how he writes he said he most time writes without an instrument, while he’s walking or going about his daily business. His most recent album ‘Counterfeit Arcade’ released Nov. 2011 is follow up to 2010’s The Owl & The Elephant, which was lauded by the likes of WNYC and Indiefeed. Available on his bandcamp page and any other venue that sells music. Get it!

Counterfeit Arcade released Nov 2011

The Owl and The Elephant released May 2010

Red Room Vol 1 released December 2008 is a free download to get you started

Here's the linkie dinkies, check em out indeed Facebook Twitter the website and youtube

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