James Christensen | Road to Be Free

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United States - Mass. - Boston

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Rock: Sadcore Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Road to Be Free

by James Christensen

A dark take on the singer/songwriter thing with glimpses of a traditional folk and classic rock genres.
Genre: Rock: Sadcore
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Road to Be Free
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3:24 $0.99
2. Android Lover
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3:59 $0.99
3. The Artist
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4:55 $0.99
4. The Hard Thing
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2:51 $0.99
5. See Everything
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4:15 $0.99
6. When the Darkness Falls
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2:14 $0.99
7. This Is Love
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3:25 $0.99
8. Grown Man Cry
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5:10 $0.99
9. Oh Yeah
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2:15 $0.99
10. Song About a Song About You
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4:46 $0.99
11. I Could Always Count on You
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1:41 $0.99
12. Shades of Gray
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3:41 $0.99
13. Please Be Gentle
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3:08 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Nearly forty years ago, John Lennon sang a song called 'Working Class Hero'. In it
he lamented the ills of a repressive society, and praised the determined individuals
who endured. James Christensen, a songwriter from Massachusetts, is a young man who
has fought through many of the battles often associated with life, and his music and
message are both stronger for it. In an industry that is obsessed with the quick
fix, the pre-packaged, and the willingness to follow trends, some might say that
Christensen has already won by continuing to do what he loves. He would, however,
argue that the best is yet to come. Recent signs are certainly pointing in that
direction. This much about his story is clear: James Christensen has been tried, and
his music remains true.

While working several jobs as a young adult - including collecting trash, assembling
toys, and selling ladies' shoes - Christensen taught himself guitar by working
through chord books and studying his favorite songwriters, such as Bob Dylan, Joni
Mitchell, and Lucinda Williams. "I was in an apartment on my own with no cable or
Internet, so I spent my time practicing," Christensen says. He was deeply saddened
by the premature and tragic death of his older brother, Steve. Steve's untimely
passing deeply affected Christensen's worldview. He determined that he was going to
do something with his life that would honor his brother's legacy. His tribute to
Steve would be in the form of his music, which would also eventually become an
outlet for his feelings of anger, empathy, sadness, and joy.

Christensen, according to the Boston Globe, writes songs that exhibit a "gentle,
soothing grace." The Northeast Performer says "he fills his songs with a touch of
humor while managing to keep them still relevant to a more serious underlying
subject." Finally, Noise Magazine says, "Christensen's voice is as soothing as it is
rich." In keeping with his recorded music, his performances are earnest and
heartfelt. He has performed in several cities throughout the Northeast. His recently
released second CD, 'Bull Rush', is now receiving airplay on over 100 stations
throughout New England. This critically acclaimed release features strong lyrics in
a high-energy recording that includes several outstanding guest musicians. "It's
about working and drinking and getting through hard times as best you can," says
Christensen. Real people and settings - denizens of pubs and blue-collar bars -
figure prominently in his anthemic odes to the working class.

Christensen strongly believes in the musician's mission of writing music that
connects with listeners. He takes pride in the fact that he writes songs about "the
people you meet in the real world." He succeeds in giving those people a voice. His
songs perfectly blend the sweet and the sour, the humorous and the sad. He is
inspired by those rare occasions in life in which he sees "something true in a sea
of fake." If that which is real and true inspires James Christensen, perhaps this
new working class hero ought to glance in the mirror. For more information on James
Christensen, visit www.jamesmusic.net.


Northeast Performer Review
Reviewer -Mike Bellefeuille
May, 2004 issue

The first track on Road to be Free, James Christensen's debut, is in fact the title track and Christensen wastes no time in setting the tone of the CD. The title track begins with Neil Young-esque vocals and tells the story similar to the one Robert Frost told in his famous poem, "The Road Not Taken." The song is sad, but pleasant and the second track, "Android Lover" shows Christensen's more humorous side. "If I had an android lover / I would always wonder / is she thinking or processing data?" Christensen sings. The song is an example of what Christensen does so excellently on this album; he fills his songs with a touch of humor while managing to keep them still relevant to a more serious underlying subject. Road to be Free is straight-up folk rock in the singer/songwriter tradition with only two songs on the CD including musicians and instruments other than Christensen and his guitar. Road to be Free is sparse but consistent, and an enjoyable listen from beginning to end that never becomes tiring or repetitious. Christensen's gentle strumming and calm, but expressive voice gently move the CD from song to song, many of which are centered on the age old theme of lost love, but with others delving into deeper topics. While the delivery is always of great import, here the music serves primarily as the vehicle for the lyrics. The delivery is successful in its wide appeal and peaceful nature, but Christensen's lyrics are the real jewel on "Road to be Free." From love songs like "A Song about a Song about You" to the working class tribute, "The Hard Thing," Christensen's lyrics are clever and poignant. He manages to make even the love songs seem important and sincere, something all love songs should be but rarely are. Christensen shows great promise on Road to be Free, with songs that exhibit nearly universal appeal and are certainly about universally-suffered problems. Sure, there are imperfections, but they're easy to forgive coming from such a talented songwriter with so much to say.


to write a review

Lisa Triplett

Rich with imagery, meaning, and a clear, strong voice
This CD caught my attention immediately and held it for the duration. The lyrics are so rich with imagery and meaning that I had to listen several times to peel back all of the layers. I often laughed out loud in appreciation of a clever insight or turn of phrase. Christensen's clear, strong voice, with a little bit of an edge, conveys the emotion of his songs perfectly.