Before & After – Vol. I: Jack James “Leaving Town”

On 8 May, 2012 by slowcoustic

Jack James - Leaving Town

I have started a series here at Slowcoustic that will focus on a song’s journey through a musician’s creative process.  Essentially a song from demo to album kind of feature.  I will merely touch on the two versions of the same song as I don’t pretend to really be in touch with what each artist goes through to bring a song through the actual song crafting process.  I tend to be the one in the stands, sitting patiently and enjoying.  While this isn’t a new idea (I thought of making it official after doing a recent before & after post on Damien Jurado) but this might be the first official post for this series.  So then folks, Jack James brings the title track of his latest album “Leaving Town” to the table.

Jack James has been around these parts prior (see a previous post) and when I mentioned the series, James was more than happy to get on board!  The song starts as I would assume most folk type demos start – fully acoustic.  I can’t say I am not happy with this natural state, how about you?

“Leaving Town (demo)” – Jack James

Now we move ahead to the album version (that came out Dec. 2011).  The song doesn’t leap ahead to full orchestral production, but gets a polish job and incremental layers.  Adding in banjo and bass line with accents of percussion grow the track and don’t weight it down.  I am a big fan of banjo used in a sparse finger picking way (as opposed to down home hard core hillbilly folk) and this final track embraces it.  The song itself uses these layers to accent the subject matter, or that these new layers peel away a song that finds itself a ‘Dear John’ letter.  Please enjoy what became of ‘Leaving Town’ below.

Thanks to Jack James for being part of our Before & After series – let us know what you think!  Maybe swing by and see what else he is working on via his Bandcamp page here or follow him on Twitter here.

~Smansmith

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