James and the Drifters
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James and the Drifters

Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Alternative

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Feb
20
James and the Drifters @ Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar

Columbus, Ohio, United States

Columbus, Ohio, United States

Jan
23
James and the Drifters @ New Holland Brewing

Holland, Michigan, United States

Holland, Michigan, United States

Jan
17
James and the Drifters @ The Tank Room

Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Music

Press


Review by Shannon Shumaker

The great thing about James and the Drifters’ All That Gold is that it doesn’t get old. It’s easy to play the entire album through and start it all over again, just because you can’t get enough of it, and that’s just what you want from an album like this.

The first thing that stands out about James and the Drifters is the pretty, mystical quality of their sound on the first track on the album, “Lucille The Wall.” The guitar work on “Lucille the Wall” is gorgeous and sweeping, making it a good opening song, enough to really showcase what they’re all about before throwing you into the second track, “One Trick Pony,” which has a distinctly more upbeat and different sound and gorgeous vocals. The vocals on “One Trick Pony” are actually the strongest aspect of the song - the harmonies are absolutely beautiful and the soft, pretty guitar work compliments them nicely. In fact, all throughout All That Gold, every instrument seems to compliment the others well, from the vocals, to the guitar, from the rhythm section to the melodic piano - All That Gold is a very well-balanced record.

Two songs on All That Gold really stood out to me as personal favorites, and for two completely different reasons, making James and the Drifters all that more interesting. One of the strongest songs on the record is easily the third track, “Foxtrot.” The song is upbeat, catchy and above everything else, unique. The vocal work on “Foxtrot” is especially strong and more gritty than any of the other tracks on All That Gold, setting it apart from the others, while the gorgeous harmonies and guitar work tie it in with the rest of the record amazingly. Throughout the track, they manage to take you on a journey, which is what I look for in a great song. (Also, the guitar tone on this track is amazing, definitely my favorite on the entire album.)

Another amazingly strong song on All That Gold comes with the slower, stripped down track, “Morning Light.” Before the vocals even came in on this song, I knew it would be one of my favorites on the record. The soft acoustic guitar is goosebump-inducing and the sheer emotion in the vocals on this track is incredible. It’s amazing that James and the Drifters can manage to put two songs that are on complete opposite ends of the musical spectrum from each other only one track away from one another and pull it off rather flawlessly.

The thing with many other albums similar to All That Gold is that a lot of the songs seem to sound the same; they get boring, stay at one level, and blend together. The great thing about this album, however, is that it doesn’t do that. While James and the Drifters definitely have a very solid and distinct sound (their songs don’t all sound like they were written by different artists) each song sounds different from the other, each strong on its own or with the album as a whole. All That Gold is a remarkable album, whether you’re listening to it while relaxing at home after a long day or jamming it on a long drive down the highway.
Rating: 4.5/5

Listen to "Morning Light" or "Foxtrot" - The Prelude Press


Right off the bat, the title “Lucille The Wall” sounds a bit trippy, if not reminiscent of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” While the track itself has a dreamy quality to it, booming vocals add a power to it that is both refreshing and tantalizing (see also “Wanderin'”). There is a certain beauty behind the lyrics that draws in every ounce of attention, making it the perfect track to kick off All That Gold.

“One Trick Pony” sounds like a new approach to saying, “I have commitment issues,” via lyrics…and a lot prettier, if that is the case. The folksy, summery sound plays like sunshine dancing through the window on a quiet, lonesome drive. The piano sounds stunning when put into play with the rest of the track, giving a bit more room for vocal exploration. It is easily one of the most notable tracks on the album. With a similar summertime feel, “Foxtrot” is a crazy, youthful summer love that is all-encompassing. The grit and echoing vocals make the song pop, and really give it a soul (see also “May 21″).

The title track of the album is striking and cinematic, although it would be easy to say that every song is, so far. However, “All That Gold” perfectly features each instrument and pulls focus. It’s the acceptance that we come in to the world with nothing and will leave the world with exactly that. Something about a statement that grand is very powerful. Similarly, “Hallelujah” offers the same testament; “the things we place value on aren’t the most important things we’ll have.” It’s folk rock with a somewhat country element to it, which I’ve noticed slips in and out throughout the album (such as the story-telling element in “Bandit”). It’s soft and sad, but reiterates the same accepting tone as the title track.
“Morning Light” is the haunting lullaby of All That Gold; strikingly “bare” with an acoustic guitar and raw vocals, the track carries a little less drama, but still maintains an almost-cinematic fit. “Bigtime” is just as powerful and raw, with a melancholy tone that would bring chills to the coldest of heart, with a jaded sadness of what it really means to “hit the big time.” Melodically, it’s lovely sad, if I’ve ever heard it. “Happy Anniversary, Darlin” carries a similar sadness, which contrasts wonderfully with the somewhat happy tune. The song is a great example of what a love song should be; it’s sweet without being ridiculously over-the-top/in-your-face, and the more it builds, the more I like it.

“Cold Wind Blowin” comes in with a bluesier feel that seems to come out of nowhere, but really leads the album off to a perfect finale, acting as a climax of sorts. “Til I Die” still plays off of blues elements and a soulful sound, but there is a feeling of finality to it, closing off the album beautifully.

All That Gold has both a charm and an undeniable amount of skill behind it. There is a soul behind each track that drives the album. In a strange way, the album is perfectly named, reminiscent of the rich, golden hues of a summer sky. As we kiss the summer days goodbye and say hello to falling leaves, James and The Drifters have produced an album of quality that is easy to want to replay again and again and again. - The Planet Stereo


Hi Brent, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Very well, thank you.

Can you talk to us more about the backstory behind your latest single ¨Foxtrot¨?

Absolutely, I wrote “Foxtrot” about 4 years ago, which isn’t uncommon for us to sit on a song for that long. “Foxtrot” is about getting out of town, heading to the coast, and having a good time along the way. It’s all about the journey with all of its excitement and beauty along the way. And there’s others involved in the journey. In the first verse its close friends, the second verse it’s a lover, and the third it’s the community. One of the themes of the album is the anxiousness of being young (most of us fresh out of college) and unsure of what comes next, but “figuring it out” with others.

I understand there´s a video for this song coming out soon; can you talk to us more about the concept?

We are super excited about the music video for “Foxtrot”! We recently took a writer’s retreat to a lake house in Northern Indiana and shot the video there. We wanted to keep it simple and yet tell the story of the song. The video shows some of us are on our journey, for instance I’m on a boat…(insert T-Pain), and we eventually all come together at the end, I don’t want to give away any spoilers or anything. Some of the shots in the video show us performing the song, because we wanted to capture some of the energy of James and the Drifters live performance.

Let´s talk about your new album All That Gold. Can you talk to us more about the recording and writing process?

The writing process was long. It typically takes us some time to finish a song, though “Bigtime” and “Lucille the Wall” are exceptions as they came together relatively quickly. The tracks “Bandit”, “May 21”, “Wanderin”, “One Trick Pony” and “Foxtrot” were written years ago as simple folk songs, but over the course of playing them live and rewriting them they morphed into the tracks you can hear on the album. We were going to throw out “One Trick Pony” but after recreating the entire sound landscape for the song in the studio we decided to keep it. Recording with our Co-Producer Peter Fox at StoneHouse Recording was a blast! It was a positive and creative atmosphere to work through the songs and any kinks we ran into.

What´s the story behind the title?

“All That Gold” is one of the tracks on the album that we felt would outline the themes of the entire project.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

We found inspiration from a lot of different sources, but I would say the top sources came from our experiences with communal living, performing in prisons, and travelling. “Cold Wind Blowin”, for instance, was written as a reaction to performing a concert for inmates. There are two prisons that we visit and are given two hours to play. It’s an incredible experience and the song came out of that.

Why did you guys take so long to release this new material?

It takes a while to get the songs where they need to be. Kyle Jackson and I share writing responsibilities and we challenge each other’s writing. It usually takes me a couple years to write and edit a song down to where I am happy with it.

This project took extra-long because we recorded the entire thing two years ago, but the release got held up behind “Before the Dawn” which were some B-sides recorded live. By the time we were going to release the “real” album, we had some band member changeover and some of the songs had already begun to change sound so we held off. Then we put all of our efforts into the kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the album, which was a success. After recording of “All That Gold” had officially started it took a year to mix, master, press, and promote the album.

So why from all the genres you guys decide to start a Folk band?

We love folk music and at the time it made sense. We love telling stories through our songs; it’s something that we’ve always been about. When James & the Drifters formed it was because three singer-songwriters wanted to record their songs but split the bill. We loved each other’s music and wanted to perform together. As we invited others to join in and be a part of the band, the style of music was impacted and you can hear it on each album we’ve released. The sounds changed over the last 4 albums as the people creating together have changed. Even recently there was some changeover after “All That Gold” was recorded. The current lineup though is really solid and I think the best sounding live.

How are you guys preparing for this tour?

We’ve wanted to play out of state more and are excited at every opportunity to do so. I think we’ve prepared by playing a ton of shows locally to help us iron out our live set. I think a band grows and gets tighter the more they play together. We try to play every opportunity we get, whether it’s a wedding, an art gallery, a prison, a bar, a church event…we just wanna play music for people who want to hear music.

Will you only be playing songs off the new album or it will be a mix set of new and old stuff?

It depends on how long a set they give us. Most of the set will be songs from “All That Gold”, peppered with songs from “Before the Dawn”. We’ve played 4 hour sets before where we are kind of forced to play everything. We don’t prefer it. I think a good 2 hour set is perfect to showcase new and old songs, we love those!

What else is happening next in James & The Drifters´ world?

We plan to keep busy with the upcoming shows around the Midwest, promoting the new album and music video for “Foxtrot”. We are also looking at releasing a ep next year, so be sure to look for that as well. - Vents Magazine


All That Gold
Review by: Emma Jade Gunn

This album cover has wolves howling at the moon. Wolves! Howling! Moon!

Is it any wonder I have a bad case of canis lupus fever? No, Virginia, it is not. THIS is my Santa Claus, as in "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." James and the Drifters brought me presents - thirteen of them, in fact, and wrapped them in a golden wrapper with howling wolves on it. Coolness!

Whodathunk Fort Wayne, Indiana could have so much to delight in? It's like Santa showed up with Rudolph and a sleigh full of Alt Rock musicians just to make me grin like a ten-year-old on Christmas morning. My daddy gave me a record player when I was about that age. It was red and white and covered with shiny silver stars. Hoo boy! I danced 'til the carpet had a lumpy worn spot after I got that record player. So... you know what's coming next, huh? Yep! I have been very, very busy wearing a lumpy spot on my current carpet dancing to All That Gold. As Jerry Lee pointed out, these guys shake my nerves and rattle my brain. James and the Drifters are driving me insane. I pressed 'play' on my CD player and it was like getting strapped in an old Willys Army Jeep and leaving the pavement behind.

An article in National Geographic said, "We didn't domesticate dogs. They domesticated us." I feel kind of like I didn't find James and the Drifters, they reached out through the sound cloud and found me.

James and the Drifters: All That Gold (back cover) I know it doesn't actually happen that way, just like I know my meek moon howling isn't going to bring an alpha timber wolf to curl up in front of my stereo. Yet, I believe it as surely as I believed in Rudolph and a man with a sleigh capable of flying at inhuman speeds one night a year. It's the fantasy I embrace and - I tell you what - the Drifter wolf pack is an uber pack of fantasy engineers.

Meet the musicians:

Kyle Jackson - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Brent Chamberlin - Guitar, Back Vox
Andy Scheer - Guitar, Back Vox
Andrew Freehauf - Bass Guitar
Dan Willig - Drums
Additional Musician: Jim Shenk - Pedal Steel on Hallelujah

So that brings me back once again to that Willys. I have the Jeep, I have the timber wolf riding shotgun. I have a tank full of gas and All That Gold. What more could a girl need? I would ask Virginia, but she didn't show up in time. Poor girl got caught in Red Riding Hood land where, along with a few Pharaohs of legend, I'm sure she's looking good. That's okay because pretty soon some new legends are going to rocket down the highway like wolves on the heels of chicks in scarlet capes.

That, Virginia, is what fantasies and legends are made of. I've run into a few of both and I absolutively believe the thirteen tracks on James and the Drifters' All That Gold is the wolf that's going to howl down the moon, call in ho-ho-ho-ing men with gifts galore, and make these dudes legendary. Don't question me on this. Listen to at least the three songs I'm covering in this review and, like me, you'll believe, too.

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

All That Gold - From the opening, which flows like a glistening waterfall, to the closing lyrics, the title track is 24-karat Au! At times it's mellifluous instruments cascading over your ears like honey. Other times it comes with the message "love is the only gift I have and I give it all to you." That's when the All That Gold power ramps up. Dramatic stuff, it flows steadily and surely from gentle to mighty. Almost anyone, anywhere, will find their own special gift in this song. It has what you seek and more. It has DEPTH and, with James and the Drifters, depth is a sublime undertaking. I'm just saying - this could be your song, the one you play just for you because you know what real worth is.

May 21 - Get a load of that opening! Okay, now play that part over and over again because, wow, that's singing and playing! May 21 enchanted and fascinated me! "The sun is shinin' on a brand new day so let's act like kids again and all go out and play." You betcha! I'll be there, hallelujah! "We might fall in love or we might just fall asleep." That's LIFE played to the best tune of all. The vocal and instrumental treatments on this track are uplifting - they give you goosebumps and make you breathe deeply from the moment. Today. Right now. If you want to be caught in the perfect moment, this is the song. As for me, I'm there or I'm square... and my Mama didn't raise no square. A hexagon, maybe, but not square.

Bandit - The dark, rich singing and strong instro backing propel Bandit much like "the bullet blew through my cheek." WHAT? Ethereal and provocative, you won't forget this track ... ever. One hot summer in Northern Idaho, I had a short interlude in my life when I looked into the depths of a river and found things I didn't really need to see. (Don't ask...) If you have ever been in a town where vigilante justice is still real and they know you by the curve of your lips, you will get the willies when you hear Bandit. I'm not talking about cool old 4X4 vehicles here, either. I'm talking about the kind of willies that grab you by the neck and squeeze until your eyes pop out and roll around like balls in a bowling alley. "Into that pit I fell." This is the stuff of feral dogs almost the size of men and a forest so dense you find "abandoned souls" hiding in your shadow. "I found myself in a pack of wolves." Shiver. Gotcha, guys, no more hidden roads in under-populated states for this girl. Oh, and to y'all out there - stay out of certain places, okay? The Drifter dudes and I have warned you.

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Do you know what I think of James and the Drifters? I think they're like a wolf pack - sleek, perfectly in step with their skill, beautiful and magnificent to behold. I think they're like Saint Nick - good guys with hearts of gold who bring us the gift of joy, brilliantly packaged in All That Gold. I think they're like that Willys Jeep - they'll never get too old to enjoy, just more and more delightful to hear with every flip of the 'on' switch. So flip that CD to 'play' and sit back because it's time to howl. Owooooo... - SurfRockMusic.com


Henry: These guys hail from Huntington and Fort Wayne and know what it means to bleed Hoosier. James and the Drifters’ folk and alt-rock style is catchy and moving; if you have the chance to see them in concert, they will jam their hearts out and get you dancing on your feet. Their lyrics, telling and sincere — their roots, grounded deep into this great state of Indiana.
Listen to: “Til I Die”
For Fans Of: Wilco, Beta Radio, The Lone Bellow - BuzzFeed Community


The Fort Wayne, Indiana rockers that call themselves James and the Drifters have already accomplished a lot of recording in 2014. In August the band released its newest studio affair, All That Gold, and have continued in their regular practice of extensive touring, spanning bars to charity events. The group’s latest music video, for the All That Gold track “Foxtrot”, captures the convivial relationships between these musicians that allow them to keep the creative drive running. With a rock edge not unlike that of My Morning Jacket and vocals that bring to mind folk revivalists like Mumford and Sons, “Foxtrot” is a fine snapshot of James and the Drifters in 2014.

The band tells PopMatters about the video, “‘Foxtrot’ is about the anxiousness of being young and the uncertainty of what comes next. It’s about getting out of town, heading to the coast, and having a good time along the way. And it’s about doing life together with others. We recently took a writer’s retreat to a lake house in Northern Indiana and shot the video there. We wanted to keep it simple and yet tell the story of the song.”

James and the Drifters - "Foxtrot" (video) (Premiere)


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11:00 am
Wednesday, Dec 3, 2014
by Brice Ezell

With a little Marcus Mumford in the vocals and a driving indie rock spirit, James and the Drifters' "Foxtrot" encapsulates this Indiana band's style.
The Fort Wayne, Indiana rockers that call themselves James and the Drifters have already accomplished a lot of recording in 2014. In August the band released its newest studio affair, All That Gold, and have continued in their regular practice of extensive touring, spanning bars to charity events. The group’s latest music video, for the All That Gold track “Foxtrot”, captures the convivial relationships between these musicians that allow them to keep the creative drive running. With a rock edge not unlike that of My Morning Jacket and vocals that bring to mind folk revivalists like Mumford and Sons, “Foxtrot” is a fine snapshot of James and the Drifters in 2014.

The band tells PopMatters about the video, “‘Foxtrot’ is about the anxiousness of being young and the uncertainty of what comes next. It’s about getting out of town, heading to the coast, and having a good time along the way. And it’s about doing life together with others. We recently took a writer’s retreat to a lake house in Northern Indiana and shot the video there. We wanted to keep it simple and yet tell the story of the song.”



All That Gold, which was released independently, is out now. James and the Drifters will tour their newest tunes at the show dates below:

Dec 5—Indianapolis, IN @ Union 50
Dec 12—Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
Jan 9—Louisville, KY @ Mercury Ballroom
Jan 10—Nashville TN @ The Basement
Jan 16—Rock Island, IL @ Rozz Tox
Jan 17—Kansas City, MO @ The Tank Room
Jan 23—Holland, MI @ New Holland Brewery
Feb 6—Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub
Feb 20—Columbus OH @ Brothers Drake
Feb 26—South Bend, IN @ The Brick
Feb 27-28—Fort Wayne, IN @ The Embassy - PopMatters


Discography

All That Gold (released August 5, 2014)
1. Lucille the Wall
2. One Trick Pony
3. Foxtrot 
4. All That Gold
5. Morning Light
6. Bigtime
7. May 21
8. Wanderin
9. Happy Anniversary, Darlin
10. Hallelujah 
11. Bandit
12. Cold Wind Blowin
13. Til I Die 

Photos

Bio

James & the Drifters have always kept two goals in mind for every performance, to give positivity and play from the heart. The aphorism has served them well as the band is one of the most talked about and loved groups in Fort Wayne’s underground rock scene. Their sound is the transfiguration of modern pop folk into the likeness of the golden-era of rock.

Formed in the small town of Huntington in 2010, James & the Drifters was the collective idea of three folk artists pulling resources. Less than a month after sharing material Brent Chamberlin, Kyle Jackson, and Tyler Gault hit the studio and in 8 hours the three men recorded over 20 songs featuring a wide-range of folk instruments: the banjo, lap-steel, accordion, drums, guitar, and rich three-part harmonies.  “There was never a lack of songs and creative input,” Chamberlin says. And never have truer words been spoken. Over the course of the band’s four-year existence they have recorded three albums (about to release the fourth) and perform just about every weekend of the year.

Immediately after forming James & the Drifters began booking shows and playing anyplace that would host them; playing weddings, art galleries, graduation parties, birthday parties, car shows, and of course the local Ft. Wayne dive bars and restaurants. More recently the band has begun touring regionally, including stops in Chicago, Columbus, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, and Nashville. Another aspect of the band’s mission to give positivity is performing charity events and putting on concerts for the incarcerated.

Stylistically the band has shaken off their dusty-folk/Americana-boots for the tough thick-skinned sound of rock and blues. Melodic guitar riffs jab and sometimes hang sweetly about the air while tight three-part harmonies, pure and strong, move along with the rock driven rhythm section. Putting a finger on the sound of James & the Drifters typically harkens to contemporary bands such as My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, Kings of Leon, or Lord Huron, yet flows down a path of its own right.

The band continues to tour regionally and earn new fans. Their fourth album “All That Gold” is set to release independently on August 5th 2014. 

Band Members