Vigor, Alarm and a Prophet's Conviction
Compared to fiery folk-soul artists such as Richie Havens, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Ron Townson, and Percy Sledge, Vinnie James draws his inspirational roots from this handful of iconic singer/songwriters, each known for bringing a raw soul edge to Folk and Americana music.
Vinnie James is hailed by music critics as one of today's most insightful singer-songwriters, having already received widespread critical acclaim for his groundbreaking soul-folk debut, "All American Boy (RCA/BMG),” as well as slots on major world tours, with artists such as Sade, Tina Turner, STYX, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt, and many others.
A soloist in his father’s Baptist church choir at the age of 8, and nurtured on songs such as: “Oh Happy Day,” “Jesus, Lover Of My Soul,” and “Let Us Go Into the House of the Lord,” Vinnie (the "son of a preacher man") developed an earthy, raw, dusky vocal style, and a vocal delivery that is often reminiscent of his father's raw pulpit preaching style.
Mike Bohem, music journalist for the L.A. Times, describes Vinnie James’ voice as: "a husky, soul-tinged voice..." that, "...bristles with vigor, alarm and a prophet's conviction..." And in another L.A. Times article, Bohem describes Vinnie James as being: "Full of fire and in your face passion."
Described as "a master wordsmith," by Maxine Jewett, President of the Southwest Acoustic Music Association, Vinnie James pens songs that take you from deeply moving, folk ballads, to powerfully raw, full-blown foot stompers, cradled in the soulful groove of drums, bass, church organs, and gospel choir backing vocals, all laced with Vinnie's soulful vocals and his signature "acoustic jackhammer" style of guitar playing.
Jim McKenna, who heads the Glasgow Festival of Songwriting in Glasgow, Scotland, calls Vinnie James, an "astonishing songwriter," who's songs explore themes ranging from political injustice and social revolution, to love, lust and loss; all written with intricate, well-crafted poetic images, showing a refreshing vulnerability and mature lyrical character.
Gil Griffin of the Washington Post, says of Vinnie James, "...his writing exhibits a developed, analytical (and self-analytical) maturity." Cary Darling of the Orange County Register adds that Vinnie's music, "has a folk edge and fits squarely in the singer-songwriter tradition of Graham Parker, Elvis Costello and John Hiatt." Record industry icon David Geffen once called Vinnie James, "a distinctive multi-threat talent."
After writing his extensive and glowing review of James' "Songs for the Long Journey" collection, Jim Pipkin, writing for the well-respected online music magazine HickoryWind.org went on to choose that recording as the number-one album of 2007.
Additionally, Maxine Jewett, President of the Prestigious Southwest Acoustic Music Association, writing an early review of the album, has this to say: "'Songs for the Long Journey' is much more than simply a CD; it is an audible work of art. Every cut could stand alone as its own CD, none are similar to the song before or after it. Vinnie James is a master wordsmith, "Homeless Man" is a remarkably poignant tale of compassion by the 'have nots' for those who have even less. Throughout the CD, James' commentary is critical but hopeful and the dynamics of the music are tricky, tricky, tricky. Listen to "County Line". Just when you think you know where this chord is going, he rips the rug out from underneath you. I love it!! My advice is buy two copies because you will wear one out."
When asked what he would like to accomplish as a songwriter, James adds, "I just want to be someone people can look back on, many years from now and say, 'Vinnie James was a committed songwriter whose songs pay tribute to his folk-soul roots, and who made a major contribution to the art of songwriting.’”
The critical acclaim, and the growing worldwide awareness of Vinnie James and his music, seem to indicate he's doing just that.
Give him a serious listen, there’s a good chance you’ll agree, Vinnie James is one artist you definitely want to add to your music library.