James Apollo - Born Lucky
James Apollo's brief but prolific six year career sees him release his latest work Born Lucky: The Best of. The album is touted as a "best of" compilation of his releases and demos as well as some new material, although at little over 30 minutes perhaps it would be more appropriate to label it as a brief introduction to the work of this American journeyman.
Apollo's music flits between blues and folk. Gentle guitars and atmospheric percussion anchor his distinctive Tom Waits style delivery, his sound is Americana in its truest sense. Apollo manages to combine a knack for old fashioned song writing with new ideas, sounds and riffs. His coherent delivery along with slick production makes for a soothing listen.
Born Lucky takes us on an emotional trip through Apollo's past and present. The album kicks off with the eerie strings and loose percussion of 'All Loves Pilgrims'. It then takes a darker twist on following track 'Fate', which has a much heavier sound than the original version, this is a reflection of what is to be expected for the rest of the album as much of the older material gets a dark makeover. 'Grandad's Morphine and Wine', with its tribal drum beat, and Apollo's gravely snarl is the stand out track here. The title track closes the album with a pleasant change of pace, with its retrospective lyrics, slow piano, and emotionally building sound.
Born Lucky is an easy listen and worth checking out if you are not familiar with Apollo's work. It is clear that Apollo is a raw talent and there is much potential here, but it would be premature to call this the "best of" James Apollo, when it seems as if there is much still to come.