Darrin James

Darrin James

 Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
BandRockSinger/Songwriter

"Singer-songwriter Darrin James touches on Robbie Robertson’s gruff soulfulness, Tom Waits’ vaudevillian menace and Paul Westerberg’s ramshackle charm. James has a talent for perceptive lyrics and memorable tunes; his crack band suppllies the laid back grooves. " Time Out NY

Biography

"Singer-songwriter Darrin James touches on Robbie Robertson’s gruff soulfulness, Tom Waits’ vaudevillian menace and Paul Westerberg’s ramshackle charm. James has a talent for perceptive lyrics and memorable tunes; his crack band suppllies the laid back grooves. " Time Out NY

Much is known about the way music impacts the brain; very little is known about its effect on the heart. That instant, visceral sensation when a song connects is universal; while sincerity and authenticity are intangible qualities, they are always present in the positive listening experience. Darrin James has been a guitarist for 15 years and a songwriter for a decade, drawing on his love for blues, soul, country and other roots genres to create songs with a timeless quality. “As a songwriter, I have wanted to combine honest, dark lyrics with old school blues and a fusion of styles, to express the emotions and stories of tragic or flawed characters.” Darrin has succeeded mightily at this aim, his debut album, Thrones of Gold earned a wealth of kudos in the music press – The Deli Magazine had this to say, “The man’s got Joe Henry versatility, a crackerjack studio band and a great sense of craft…from a Lovett/Waits blues into a John Prine diatribe then rocketing off with an Elvis Costello pop gem.” The title track placed in American Songwriter’s Lyric Writing Contest with the lyrics appearing in the Nov/Dec 2006 issue. “Crazy World” was used in the segment of Emmy-nominated reality TV fave The Deadliest Catch in which the crew demonstrate advanced cases of “Bering Sea Dementia.”

The Lovely Ugly Truth is the follow up album, and it's filled with parables that illustrate moral dilemmas and regret, outlaw stories, murder ballads and even a contemporary protest song that confronts the immigration debate. “I have always loved the saddest songs the best, so that is what I write most often,” explained James, who produced the album and assembled an ensemble of New York’s finest players, including staff from David Byrne, Antibalas, TV on the Radio, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Beirut and Arcade Fire. The tracks were recorded between 2007 and 2009 in numerous studios in New York by Matt Gill, who has worked with bands like Fischerspooner, Aimee Mann, The Raveonettes and Aqualung.

 

Lyrics

Thrones of Gold

Written By: Darrin James

I’m lost standin’ on a dark road side
Lookin’ for my bag in the soft moonlight
I’m a wasted man, I’m a space cadet, man.
Lookin’ for meaning in a bathroom stall
Lookin’ for Jesus in a shopping mall
I’m a tasteless man, I’m American.
Someone’s spouting theories in my ear on relationships
Intellectuals criticize the war and the modernists.
Why don’t we just run away into the night
To our thrones of gold

I’m done dreamin’ of a distant land
Tired of talkin’ into the fan
There’s a place I know, Sometime we’ll go
Sick of slurpin’ blood through a straw
Sick of some schmuck fuckin’ up for us all
I’m a straight shot man, Bullshit can’t stand
Suddenly the situation changed for everyone
Somehow someone sought to seek some vengeance on everyone
Why don’t we sit here and suffer as if we’re innocent to the bone
From our thrones of gold.

(Instrumental verse)
Why don’t we run from ourselves into the night
To our thrones of gold

I’m goin’ somewhere I’ve never been
My life here is at an end
I’ll be an honest man with a calloused hand
Goin where people don’t work so hard.
Noone’s gonna show me no business card
I’m outta here, Won’t shed no tear
Some small child singing in my ear sweet soft melodies
It’s too bad we already know that it ends in tragedy
Why don’t we worry later and wonder where the time has gone
From our thrones of gold

Herie

Written By: Darrin James

Herie fought in the war for Iran
He had a dream of a freer land.
His family was murdered in front of his eyes,
But I’ve never seen him cry

Herie, Herie, Herie my friend
Will you ever love again?
Herie, Herie, Herie my friend
Such a gentle man.

They gave him a machine gun
He fire one round.
The powerful kick
Threw him to the ground.
But hatred and rage took over his mind,
And he could shoot two at a time.

Herie, Herie, Herie my friend
Will you ever love again?
Herie, Herie, Herie my friend
Such a gentle man.

His family dead, no faith in Iran
When he saw the chance he deserted, he ran.
As a political refugee,
He gained asylum in Germany.
Now in Munich he lives free.
He smokes hashish in the garden with me.

Herie, Herie, Herie my friend
Will I ever see you again.
Herie, Herie, Herie my friend
Will you ever love again?
Herie, Herie, Herie my friend
Such a gentle man.

Faith on the Run

Written By: Darrin James

Matching people, like matching socks,
in a matching house on a matching block
Worry about money, worey about their hair
Worry about the races of the faces they stare
Live in a dream, Where you are queen
Live in a castle, could make you scream
Worry about death, questioning life
Questioning the love you share with your wife

Nihilists can have their fun
I’m here watching faith on the run

If you got money, fill your house with stuff
No matter how much, it’s never enough
What lies ahead is so unclear
Like the aging body that you see in the mirror
The sun is shining even if you don’t see it
I know you must feel love even if you didn’t mean it
The newspaper comes even if you don’t read it
The church bell rings even if you don’t believe

You can sell your eyes on a setting sun
I’m still watching faith on the run

I saw this couple strolling down
Avenue of the Americas
She had diamonds on her hands
He had the look of a president
They did not talk, did not touch
Did not attempt eye contact
They trudged along like some sad scene
Of some sad film or some sad dream
Evidence of a faded love
Shinin’ like the neon sign above
Life grows mold, love grows cold
Is that what happened when you get old?

Nihilists can have their fun
I’m here watching faith on the run

You can sell your eyes on a setting sun
I’m still watching faith on the run

Had Enough of Me

Written By: Darrin James

Had Enough of Me
By Darrin James

Long lost, slightly sauced, and swingin’ from a vine
She was a dose of imperfection, left me danglin’, out of time
I sold my disposition for a nickel and a dime
But now she’s had enough of me

I never lied, but never tried, she never called me on the phone
She led me down a one way street, I thought we were alone
I looked into her eyes, but she looked into my soul
And now she’s had enough of me

Seduce me, Reduce me, play tricks with my mind
Use me, abuse me, the world is unkind
Fool me, search me, let me know what you find
Because she’s had enough of me

You stop by, pretend to try, pretend that it’s real
It’s a rebound lost-and-found, give back what you steal
You took away my pride, now tell me how should I feel?
She’s had enough of me

I’m worn out, thrown out, tattered and torn
She said I was dead, wish I was never born
But I won’t play the martyr in a crown of thorns
She’s had enough of me

I messed up, I fessed up, but my love it was true
We made up, but we gave up, broke my spirit, I’m through
I’m glad when I don’t see you, what else could I do?
I’ve had enough of you

Crazy World

Written By: Darrin James

Somewhere time is standing still
Like a picture frame on the window sill
The family lives here no more
There’s a padlock on a cold steel door
The tune you whistle on a late night stroll
Still resembles rock n’ roll
There’s a traffic jam on a crowded street
Where all the sugar lost its sweet

And the bitterness remains like cold rejection
Still cynical over that stolen election
I hear people say they just don’t care
It’s a crazy world out there

Still remains an old belief
Like a sunken ship down deep in the sea
The words that linger on a faded sign
The pretty face, the catchy rhyme
I hear people blaming people
It’s always black and white, good versus evil
But all had lost its true intent
When John the Baptists screamed repent, Repent!

The hungry line up outside the wall
They can smell the fast food reeking from a shopping mall
We can forgive, We can share
Even though they’re telling us it’s a crazy world out there

Trivial

Written By: Darrin James

It all comes back to me now
The empty promises
The shallowness of you
I don’t see you
In any of my future plans

Please don’t run into me now
Please don’t leave messages
That I won’t listen to
I hear you voice
And it gets under my skin

All of my dreams, all of my things
Go ahead and take them all
After all of this time, the nickels and the dimes
Seem so trivial

I don’t care who is to blame
Have no desire to relive
Moments of pain
So I don’t see you
In any of my photographs

I don’t believe in this game
Take what you want
What you think you deserve
I look around, and I notice what a mess I’m in

All of my dreams, all of my things
Go ahead and take them all
After all of this time, the nickels and the dimes
Seem so trivial,

I settled down,
I settled for you
It was too soon

I gave you love
I gave you not enough
Maybe that’s true

But also trivial

I’ve been here twice before
The emptiness feels the same
I don’t need you
To complicate my life this way

I see mistakes that I’ve made
I hear the arguments
Replaying in my brain
I hear our voice and it gets under my skin

Easier

Written By: Darrin James

Sometimes I am lonely lookin’ out my window
As darkness falls upon me, and I’m getting’ older
My body and my bones are tired from a long day workin’
And the six-pack in the cooler is my prized possession.

Oh, Lord, Can you make this world a little easier?

I don’t need a lot, but I’m feelin’ buried,
As the mail keeps piling up, And I’m not lazy
But sometimes it’s not enough to just get by,
And I’m sorry that there’s nothin’ more that I can provide?

Oh, Lord, Can you make this world a little easier?

Sometimes I feel the world, day by day, is getting dirtier.
I’m not usually the type to complain, not a worrier.

Oh, Lord, Can you make this world a little easier?

Cause my girl, well I was young, too young to have a baby,
And it breaks my heart to see her now, such a little lady.
My memories and my mind are playin’ tricks on me lately,
And it seems like yesterday that I was young and life was easier.

Oh, Lord, Can you make this world a little easier?

Maybe I was wrong, but I thought that you were listening
When I made a point of changin’ being more optimistic.
I don’t mind dyin' broke ass and alone if I have it comin’
I’ll face my past and stare it down, I ain’t runnin’ no.

Oh, Lord, Can you make this world a little easier?

You Never Know

Written By: Darrin James

Maybe Jesus died for all of our sins
Maybe you’ve got to save your soul
Maybe the answers all lie within us
You never, never, never know

Maybe you’re lucky, but you say you are blessed
As if to think that God could love you best
You misquote what serves you
And you forget the rest
On day you’re gonna be in for an unpleasant twist

Save me all your talk
You know it doesn’t work
Save all your dead sermons
And your graveyard book
Sell out all the seats
The same performance every time
You never, never, never know

Your anger, your arrogance, well, it ain’t him
Somehow confused by all the focus on sin
I just need something I can throw up in
You never, never, never know

Shame is but a construct
I just don’t get
Maybe all the suffering
Makes you wet
Eternity in Hell
Is no small threat
You never, never, never know

Bombs Away

Written By: Darrin James

I got a feeling we are on the wrong track now
We got to put an end to violence somehow
When will we realize we’ve been desensitized
Do not avert your eyes, look hard apologize
You speak of God, say you’re a Christian
You teach your children fear and hatred
When will the media start asking tough questions
We only interfere when it’s in our interests

Bombs away!
Big mistake!

Hiroshima
Nagasaki
Luftwaffe
Kamikaze
Unmanned drones
No-fly zones
Family’s homes

Bombs away!
Big mistake!

There are too many who would go the wrong direction
I tend to worry every time there’s an election
Military projecting power
Propoganda turned idealism sour
You sing of freedom, love your constitution
Throw men in prison, do not charge them
I want to feel I can be proud of my country
I want to think we have respect for humanity

Hiroshima (Hussein)
Nagasaki (Hussein)
Adolf Hitler (Hussein)
Quadafi (Hussein)
Unmanned drones (Hussein)
No-fly zones (Hussein)
Green zones (Hussein)
Falling homes (Hussein)

Hiroshima (Big mistake)
Nagasaki (Big mistake)
Luftwaffe (Big mistake)
Kamikaze (Big mistake)
Unmanned drones (Big mistake)
No-fly zones (Big mistake)
Family’s homes (Big mistake)

Bombs away!
Big mistake!

Hiroshima (Hussein)
Nagasaki (Hussein)
Luftwaffe (Hussein)
Kamikaze (Hussein)
Unmanned drones (Hussein)
No-fly zones (Hussein)
Will it ever end? (Hussein)
Will it ever end?

Discography

"Thrones of Gold" (2006)
"The Lovely Ugly Truth" (2009)
"Crazy World" Licensed to Discovery Channel for the Emmy-nominated series "Deadliest Catch"

"Bombs Away" (2014)

Set List

While Darrin James Band performs mostly original material, we realize that new interpretations of recognizable songs can energize an audience. So Darrin injects his own personality into covers of songs from an eclectic variety of styles such as blues, folk, traditional, funk or classic rock.