If you don’t have nostalgic memories of growing up in a small rural town, then the newest album from Kenny James will likely remedy that.
‘Ghost Town’ is a nine-track journey through the starry-eyed life that only a country singer could live, chronicling first loves, childhood homesteads and times of trouble. It’s James’s second full-length album, following his 2015 release Tougher Than Nails.
‘This Old House’ begins with an ode to a family home that’s been there for James through it all, and he hopes it’ll continue to do so for years to come. It’s a track that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The lyrics are filled with imagery that most people who grew up in a family home can relate to.
The rest of the album goes on to hit some key checkpoints as far as hometown nostalgia is concerned. He tackles optimism in ‘Don’t You Ever Give Up’. ‘Victoria’ deals with yearning after a lost love. You’ve even got a classic country staple of a canine love song in ‘Man’s Best Friend.’ All of these combinations make it feel like an album not just of songs but of photographs, snapshots from James’s life over the years.
‘Victoria’ is a standout as the sole true ballad on the album. If it’s true that James can make you nostalgic for a town you’ve never been to, then the same can be said for a heartbreak you’ve never experienced. He has a sympathetic touch that can be used for good memories and bad, and he uses it here with heart-wrenching results.
While James has very clearly staked his claim in the country genre, his alternative background shines through in moments, particularly in ‘A Little Bit Shy’. It’s still a country song, but it’s a shining example of the slight edge James holds, making him more than just a typical country singer.
All in all, the album follows a satisfying storytelling formula without being too predictable. James has a touch that makes the album stand apart from other country releases, making it definitely worth a listen.