"A soon-to-be legend" -TeaParty Boston (Boston Arts & Entertainment Blog)
"A soulful gem" -The Groove
"Stuck in amidst the guitarists trying to outshred each other is the jewel in the rough Merrily James" -Boston Band Crush
"I can recognize when a singer has natural talent, and Merrily James definitely has it." -Boston Survival Guide
“A sultry voice and a touch of soul” – Women of Substance Radio
As a little white girl growing up in Seattle, Merrily learned to sing by touring with the Total Experience Gospel Choir, and later formed her own 7-piece funk band called “The Bucket of Soul.” At age 17 she was picked up by “Showtime at the Apollo” and had the audience singing along with her to Aretha Franklin on the national TV series hosted by Sinbad.
A four-year scholarship recipient and recent graduate of Berklee College of Music, Merrily has performed for Linda Ronstadt and Smokey Robinson and has shared the stage with Bobby McFerrin, Phillip Bailey (Earth, Wind, & Fire), Don Was, and Rocco Prestia (Tower of Power). Merrily was finalist with the New York Song Circle and winner for best singer/songwriter and the “Artist on the Verge” Ourstage competition.
*Most shows acoustic (piano/voice), band available for special events.
Words For Everything 2010
Merrily James’ Debut ‘Words for Everything:’ a Soulful Gem
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By Zac Taylor Managing Editor Photo by Conor Doherty. You hear her voice and you go: man! ...By Zac Taylor
Photo by Conor Doherty.
You hear her voice and you go: man! You see her photo and you go: huh? It’s a common occurrence for Merrily James , a slender girl with a gigantic voice, who could give Jill Scott a run for her money.
Produced by Darren McGrath, the soulful tunes on Words for Everything are supported by an all-star cast of musicians: Jake Cohen on drums and Claire Finley on bass laying down dynamic grooves; Randy Runyon on guitar, Dane Farnsworth on keys providing tasty R&B-infused textures; and a host of horns, strings, and backup singers that give all of the songs a lovely listenability.
Perhaps the most easily accessible of the six tunes, “Braver than Blue” could easily be a track on the next Joss Stone CD, minus the accent. A childlike glockenspiel bounces on top of a smoky Wurlitzer as James comes in, “Remember that time we kissed on your front steps?” The chorus explodes with horns and “ahhs” that bury into your brain upon first listen.
In “Street with No Name” a tasteful piano welds together with a heart-rendering string section make certain lyrics like “So you take your faith and you throw it out on the wet ground/Just when you think that love’s keeping you warm, it burns you alive” hit you right in the kisser.
The record takes a bluesy turn on the next track, “Long, Long time.” Saucy organ licks and rhythmic feel changes between the verse and chorus show that James has been taking her gospel vitamins and listening to plenty of Ray Charles; it also illustrates that her songwriting is easily as impressive and mature as her powerful voice.
You can hear James belt it out this Friday night at the Agganis Area for Berklee’s Commencement.
C.D. on Songs: Merrily James - "Song for Sanna"
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C.D. on Songs: Merrily James - "Song for Sanna" Posted by C.D. Di Guardia It's no secret that scad...C.D. on Songs: Merrily James - "Song for Sanna"
Posted by C.D. Di Guardia
It's no secret that scads of young people come to the area for the purpose of higher education. Some of them are scientists. Lots of them are drunks. But we always forget that we have a pretty sweet music school in our midst, and that also attracts a certain element. Stuck in amidst the guitarists trying to outshred each other is jewel in the rough Merrily James. She has a CD release on April 9 at the Red Room in Boston. We're telling you about this early because she is giving the dang thing away all week on her ReverbNation page. Until April 9. You have one week
Merrily James - "Song for Sanna
It takes a certain degree of bravitude (that's bravery, bravado and attitude) to really, really puts ones self out there. No crazy vocal effects. No layers of humanity to hide behind in the form of a huge band. Merrily James makes such a stand in "Song for Sanna," sounding confident with naught but her voice and a sparse arrangement behind.
The arrangement is tasteful and deferential to the star of the track - James' impressive voice. James displays an admirable vocal range, feeling equally comfortable in the highs as well as the lows. She is able to dial the power range up and down, raising to a high keen for the big moments, and bringing it down to a musical whisper in the more quiet ones. James' big moment comes around the 2 minute mark, with a small crescendo that blooms quickly and smoothly and then fades away just as quickly.
A vocalists voice is their instrument, and James seems to to have mastered her instrument. The performance is comfortable and confident. James hits her voice's sweet spot note in the chorus and plays with it every time it comes around, providing a reward for the listener each and every time.
Today's Indie Artist Suggestion: Merrily James
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Today's Indie Artist Suggestion: Merrily James Posted on June 15, 2010 at 10:47 AM Hear Merrily 3...Today's Indie Artist Suggestion: Merrily James
Posted on June 15, 2010 at 10:47 AM
Hear Merrily 3 times today online: on our "What's on my iPod" Show (4 PM ET, 1 PM PT), Spotlight on Great Songs (5 PM ET, 2 PM PT), and Piano Ballads Show (6 PM ET, 3 PM PT) at www.WomenOfSubstanceRadio.com. Merrily is a singer/songwriter with a sultry voice and a touch of soul. Her love and respect for soul music began at age 13 when she began performing with the Seattle Total Experience Gospel Choir. Merrily's musical story is only beginning as she is soon to graduate from the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Her mature voice, superb songwriting and laid-back pop/soul grooves are sure to garner her a following.
Example Set List (1 hour)
1. Long, Long Time (original)
2. Afterthoughts of a Superwoman (original)
3. Send Me Back (original)
4. Cool Change (cover)
5. Broken Wheels (original)
6. Cruisin (cover)
7. Street With No Name (original)
8. Braver than Blue (original)
9. Susannah (original)
10. Get Up, Go Out (original)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.