Episode 107: James Byous
Air date: 4.2.2014
Every now and again, a young musician comes along who makes you go, "Damn!" Something about the way they turn a rhyme or phrase a melody feels utterly natural in a way that is seldom seen or heard. James Byous is that kid. But really, he’s hardly a kid, because his music exudes both a musical maturity and a sensual, blue-eyed soul that belies his 25 years. He’s soft-spoken, but articulate. He knows his music history enough to know that we’re all standing on the shoulders of giants, but he’s talented and confident enough to sing every song as as if were his own. He can hold his own on guitar, and he writes his own catchy songs, too. The eleven songs that comprise his debut album, Broken Ghost, show a range that would be rare for an artist of any age. But above all, Byous is blessed with a facile tenor voice that, in a style of music more prone to vocal gymnastics than his breezy acoustic pop, would be just another platform for excessive autotuning. Justin Timberlake could learn a thing or two from Byous’ pitch-perfect balance of restraint and gusto - because just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. And if you really want to get a feel for what James Byous is capable of, sit with him in a room with a couple acoustic of guitars and a bottle of wine. If you’ve ever felt that modern music has lost its way, Byous is the perfect anodyne.