Gabriel James, In The Hands Of Fools

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

How does someone explain music to another person without their own skewed perspective being forced onto another artist? Then on top of all that the reviewer must write words to interpret something they are listening to, like a painter using music to become a muse of great artwork. So when I say someone sounds like John Meyer mixed with some Randy Newman and jazz trumpet with pinches of steady beats on top of easy going lyrics, you might begin to have a picture Gabriel James. He mixes all that and so much more into a gentle album titled, In The Hands Of Fools from Grass Root Records.

There are songs that sway to the beat like, “Pretend”, and move between Mexican trumpet and almost digital light drumming. Then there are songs that are more light pop, mixed with light acoustic guitar like “Button Down.” Other songs like, “In The Hands Of Fools” are classy and sophisticated with flares of New Orlean’s tumpet echoing in the distance. Gabriel has a beat to his voice while singing to the music that is almost funky. When he turns a corner singing there is nearly a twang in his high pitched notes.

What really stood out was the trumpet playing that underlined the entire album. It’s reminiscent of Hugh Masekela from 1967’s Monterey Pop Jazz Music Festival with a jazzy tone. Erik Naslund is smooth on the horn, and completes the overall sound. He takes something that would be like so much out there and really adds a unique signature to virtually every song. Come see Gabriel at Beaner’s this Friday (May 12th) and see what you hear.