Published on April 2, 2013 at 8:00 pm
By LAUREN HALLIGAN
Artist-on-the-rise James Ethan Clark internationally released his freshman LP entitled “Southern Hotel” on Apr. 2. The young alternative folk-rock solo artist uses his soulful voice, guitar, piano and harmonica on the ten song debut album to prove that his new sound is play-worthy.
The self-narrative of Clark’s life as a young man, many of his songs tell a tale of a brokenhearted boy coming into his own as strong-willed man.
Hailing from North Carolina, Clark recorded the album, his first full-length recording, in Nashville with the help of a few guest artists.
The album’s first track, “Destination” slowly progresses from a single guitar riff to a full band, leading in with the image-provoking lyrics “Standing on the side of the road/You don’t know where home is/Waiting for that train to come.” The song then describes the beginning of a journey with “Destination: Nowhere.”
Four tracks in, danceable single “God Knows When” shows Clark’s country-western side, as well as his impressive vocal range.
The slower, quiet tunes such as “Stories” and “Flowers Die At Night,” soothing in nature, give listeners an opportunity to appreciate Clark’s well-crafted lyrical content.
Throughout the album, a bluesy tone compliments the depth of Clark’s dark storytelling lyrics.
Clark’s webpage describes the ten-track product as an “intrepid collection of songs about a young man’s coming of age in a bleak, southern landscape.”
Clark draws influence from gospel music, which he was introduced to by his grandmother, mixed with his contemporary folk-rock sound that gives him a distinct soothing, yet alternative sound.
As a musician, Clark admires artists such as Radiohead, Bon Iver, Damien Rice, Augustana, and Kings of Leon.
The first single off of “Southern Hotel” entitled “God Knows When” was released for free download on Mar. 13. This track is available through Clark’s page on reverbnation.com, along with a free download of Clark’s cover of the Oasis original “Wonderwall.”
His single “The Vines of My Heart” can be streamed on Spotify for free and purchased on iTunes for $.99. A free mobile application to stream Clark’s music and keep updated on news and pictures can also be downloaded through iTunes at no charge. Although currently unsigned, Clark’s positive attitude towards the music industry, his charming good looks, and unique musical style can only help him in pursuing his dreams.
Currently a solo artist, Clark eventually hopes to assemble a band of like-minded musicians with which to tour and share his music.
Coming into his own as a musician, Clark’s album leaves some room for improvement technically, a few holes of silence and glitches in the trickier guitar parts hiding throughout the near-hour of music. However, listeners will recognize when hearing Clark’s songs that passion is certainly the driving force behind his music.
The revelation of this debut album displays clear evidence of great potential in Clark and his music. “Southern Hotel” will surely put Clark on the map, and open doors for growth and flourishing in the future of his musical career.
For more information, visit www.jamesethanclark.com.