James Christensen

James Christensen

BandRockSinger/Songwriter

The focus is on the song rather than the production. I believe in intelligent lyrics with an attention to melody, and a little humor to balance out the sadness.

Biography

Nearly forty years ago, John Lennon sang a song called 'Working Class Hero'. In it he lamented the ills of a repressive society, and praised the determined individuals who endured. James Christensen, a songwriter from Massachusetts, is a young man who has fought through many of the battles often associated with life, and his music and message are both stronger for it. In an industry that is obsessed with the quick fix, the pre-packaged, and the willingness to follow trends, some might say that Christensen has already won by continuing to do what he loves. He would, however, argue that the best is yet to come. Recent signs are certainly pointing in that direction. This much about his story is clear: James Christensen has been tried, and his music remains true.

While working several jobs as a young adult - including collecting trash, assembling toys, and selling ladies' shoes - Christensen taught himself guitar by working through chord books and studying his favorite songwriters, such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Lucinda Williams. "I was in an apartment on my own with no cable or Internet, so I spent my time practicing," Christensen says. He was deeply saddened by the premature and tragic death of his older brother, Steve. Steve's untimely passing deeply affected Christensen's worldview. He determined that he was going to do something with his life that would honor his brother's legacy. His tribute to Steve would be in the form of his music, which would also eventually become an outlet for his feelings of anger, empathy, sadness, and joy.

Christensen, according to the Boston Globe, writes songs that exhibit a "gentle, soothing grace." The Northeast Performer says "he fills his songs with a touch of humor while managing to keep them still relevant to a more serious underlying subject." Finally, Noise Magazine says, "Christensen's voice is as soothing as it is rich." In keeping with his recorded music, his performances are earnest and heartfelt. He has performed in several cities throughout the Northeast. His recently released second CD, 'Bull Rush', is now receiving airplay on over 100 stations throughout New England. This critically acclaimed release features strong lyrics in a high-energy recording that includes several outstanding guest musicians. "It's about working and drinking and getting through hard times as best you can," says Christensen. Real people and settings - denizens of pubs and blue-collar bars - figure prominently in his anthemic odes to the working class.

Christensen strongly believes in the musician's mission of writing music that connects with listeners. He takes pride in the fact that he writes songs about "the people you meet in the real world." He succeeds in giving those people a voice. His songs perfectly blend the sweet and the sour, the humorous and the sad. He is inspired by those rare occasions in life in which he sees "something true in a sea of fake." If that which is real and true inspires James Christensen, perhaps this new working class hero ought to glance in the mirror.

Lyrics

Please Be Gentle

Written By: James Christensen

Pictures meant for you to see
Postcards from you to me
Lightning in a bottle
Love at full throttle

No speed limits darling
This is just a heart thing
Nothing to be regretted
Lying on my death bed

This love is just a start
I wanna be the rock
You choose to reach for
When you don't wanna
Drift anymore
My heart is in your hands
Not that I have chosen
One day I just awoke, and
You were part of my plans
My heart is in your hands
Please be gentle

A few words strung together
Made me feel so much better
This rock is here to hold you
Weather the storms you go through

No expiration date, darling
On the notes my heart sings
I'm a fool for you and then some
Love as sweet redemption

This love is just a start
I wanna be the rock
You choose to reach for
When you don't wanna
Drift anymore
My heart is in your hands
Not that I have chosen
One day I just awoke, and
You were part of my plans
My heart is in your hands
Please be gentle

Song About a Song About You

Written By: James Christensen

Always gonna be another song come around and steal your heart from me
Sure do love the way you wrap around my melody
All that raw energy pours out from you through your pen
Only a matter of time til you' feel that way again

You're trying to connect
But you should show me some respect

You’re gonna go off, searching for the perfect line
But I will always be in the back of your mind

Then one night you'll pull me out and say
This one I haven't played in a long time
It kinda makes me blue
It's a song about a song about you.
Yeah you. You.

Always gonna be another song come around and steal your heart from me
Sure do love the way you weave around my melody
It's hard to believe I started out in a major key
Look at the slice of melodrama you made outta me

You're trying to connect
You're showin' me some respect

You'll go around dreamin' up new lines
But I will always be in the back of your mind

Then some night you'll pull me out and say
This one I haven't played in a long time
It kinda makes me blue
It's a song about a song about you.

This Town

Written By: James Christensen

The wind blows through this town
Chases all the road sand around
Hits the windows, and almost sounds
Like it’s raining
sometimes it hits so hard, it’s like it’d knock the panes in
And it makes me tired, I can’t explain it.

And everything’s broken in this town
Burned down, boarded up or falling down
If you listen, you can always hear the sound
Of people leavin’
No reason to stay; nothing to believe in
It’s like a funeral with no one grieving

When I was a kid, my dad took me around
Wherever these old country roads wound
and the saddest place we ever found
Was where we were living
When he left I was almost able to forgive him
Lord you know how much I miss him

Well I'm pullin' out and I'm city bound
The last time my feet'll touch this ground
Turn my eyes to heaven, thankful I didn't drown
In these rusty reds and grays
and all the dull colors that made up my day
I thank Christ that I got away.

Discography

Road to Be Free, 2003
Bull Rush, 2005

The following tracks have gotten airplay:

The Hard Thing
This Town
I Can't
Please Be Gentle
See Everything
This Is Love
Shades of Gray
Grown Man Cry

Set List

I am used to playing sets of up to 2 hours and I have enough material to play nearly 3 hours total. A typical show for me is two 1 hour and 15 minute sets. I play only original material.

Typical set list:

Takin’ My Love Home
Your Guess Is As Good As Mine
Road to Be Free
Broken Beer Bottle Hands
Heartfelt
This Is Love
Can You Roll Your Tongue
Thinking of You
Don’t Be Blue
Sweet Anonymity
Android Lover
See Everything
Please Be Gentle
Grown Man Cry
The Hard Thing
A Picture of Your Face
Song About a Song About You
Shades of Gray
Linda’s Unique Idea of Fidelity
Crawl Away and Hide
I Could Always Count on You
When the Darkness Falls
My Favorite Place
The Artist
Christmas (in absinthia)
Oh Yeah
A Better Man
Outta My Head (and outta yours too)