James’ songwriting has often been cited for its keen sense of history. Songs like “Hillcrest Mine” and “Cold Missouri Waters” instantly come to mind. On SECOND-HAND James also takes on a number of topical issues of concern to us all “Walk On” about overcoming depression and “The Benefits of Surrender”– allowing oneself to be more open to life’s possibilities. These, coupled with a command of the language and delivered with an unmistakably rich baritone, and it’s not surprising that James has come to be considered one of Canada’s great singer songwriters.
SECOND-HAND finds James at the top of his game with ten new songs including co-writes with Catherine MacLellan, Lynn Miles, J.D. Edwards, Cara Luft and Dave Gunning. “I love co-writing,” he says, “it’s the spark that gets me motivated – the fresh approach to a lyric or a different way of forming a melody for a song is so stimulating. Besides, it’s also a great impetus to finish the damn song.”
Joining James in studio was long time musical pal David Woodhead-Bass, Bob Stagg-Keyboards, and guitarists Bob Cohen, Dave Clarke and Joe Grass. Harmony vocals were provided by Pharis & Jason Romero and Kelly Prescott. The album was produced in Montréal by Bill Garrett.