Angela James, Ben Boye | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Angela James, Ben Boye 18+ Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sat., Nov. 1, 9:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $10
Tennessee-bred, Chicago-based singer Angela James has made a huge leap with her new self-released album, Way Down Deep. Her singing has always been gorgeous and assured—she’s like a sturdier, less vulnerable-sounding Patsy Cline—but now her lovely, rustic melodies are enhanced by excellent arrangements played by an impressive band. Though James’s debut, the 2012 EP Down and Out, felt undercooked and perfunctory (her amazing voice notwithstanding), on the new record everything pulls together beautifully. On “Drink and Try Not to Cry,” a story about drowning one’s sorrows, the contrast between Jason Stein’s phlegmy bass clarinet and Justin Brown’s fluid pedal steel feels like the sunrise battling a hangover; the soaring, hopeful chorus of “Lost and Found,” which sounds like it could’ve been written by James Mercer of the Shins, pierces its melancholy meditation on heartbreak like a ray of light. James is joined here by eight of the players from the record, including opening act Ben Boye. —Peter Margasak

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