Angela James, Stirrup | Constellation | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Angela James

Angela James

Courtesy the Artist

Angela James, Stirrup 

When: Fri., March 4, 8:30 p.m. 2016
Price: $10
On her smoldering, gorgeous new self-released album Time Will Tell, folk-leaning singer Angela James suffuses many of the tracks with darkness: relationships fray, expectations fall short, lives end, and narrators struggle to manage their losses. “What if this becomes the last song I ever write?” she asks on the opener, “What If.” But as with many of these kinds of meditations on the record she finds a Zen-like solace—here she answers her own question with “We’re all and we’re nothing / And everything is unknown / But here’s to hoping we hold on.” Despite the uncertainty that consumes her lyrics, James sings with a firm determination, and she does so with a soft, honeyed beauty and a reassuring sense of calm. Those qualities are further enhanced by excellent arrangements from a terrific cast of players. Saxophonist Nick Mazzarella plays gauzy overdubbed lines to open “In Between”—which gets subtle jolts of R&B via the insistent piano stabs of Ben Boye—while Jordan Martins lays down a stinging, languid electric guitar solo on “Bad Memory,” one that adds ominous tidings to James’s words about a curdled romantic obsession. To celebrate the release of the album, James will play it in full while backed by both Boye and Martins as well as the agile trio Stirrup: drummer Charles Rumback and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, who both play on the record, and bassist Nick Macri. Stirrup open the evening with a set of their own.
— Peter Margasak



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