"It's a loud and crazy world/Find a sound you love." This line, from the title cut, encapsulates the artistic impetus of Jr. James & The Late Guitar's new disc. Sometimes finding the sound you love means filtering out the leaf blowers, lawn mowers, street buskers, and highway rustlers; sometimes it means accepting the noise, dissonance, and atonality of a hyper-electrified technological society and incorporating it all into your personal rock 'n' roll. Thank Jah for egg cartons, ear plugs, and mixing boards.
This collection of tracks represents Jr. James & The Late Guitar's first sustained foray outside the basement environs of Dubatomic Studio, home of the band's four-track, and into the wild and woolly world of legit studio recording, replete with all the perplexing processors, capricious compressors, and mystifying meters, dials, and diodes that drive sonic junkie kuhrayzee. For the best in rootsy analog beauty, the band plugged in to Asheville, NC's Collapseable Recording Studio and set the reel-to-reels rolling. For the most part, the band played together, laying down tracks "live." In homage to Pink Floyd, there were a few overdubs too.
Soundproof Room catches the expanded, supercharged Late Guitar, now a glorious six-piece combo featuring some of Western North Carolina's best players: bassist Bill Reynolds and drummer Mike Rhodes (alums of The Blue Rags); and multi-instrumentalists Aaron Price and Tyler Ramsey, who both front their own trios. Junior James again wrote songs and uncovered covers, and Nancy Alenier, in addition to playing keyboards, percussion, and singing, kept the band on track and rang the alarm (like Tenor Saw) when something sounded awry.
Special guests added fabulous flavor. Jonathan Lloyd and Steve Farmer of Mandorico played trombone and trumpet on "East of the River Nile" and "King George," while young Jamaican toaster Chiwahwa lent an immigrant perspective to the updated, dancehall version of "American Dream."
Go ahead--find a sound you love. Maybe it's a punky reggae party, or it could be a hymn. Maybe it's a jackhammer. Maybe it's something on this little disc.