I was first knocked sideways by James Roseman’s music back in the summer of 2012. He had just released his debut album, Words and Tricks, where he accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, saxophone and drums. In it, I found a wise and sly old soul trapped inside an 18-year-old body. Wiser and slyer and a few years later, today James releases The Demo Tape, which can be listened to on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp.

This is billed as his “debut 3-song demo” and indeed, it’s a stylistic departure from his earlier work. With the same wry, sophisticated lyrics, the music is far more developed and professional. He might call it a demo, but clearly a lot of attention was paid to production values this time around. Fortunately, his warm, intimate and insanely charming style is left beautifully intact. “Wasting My Time” is a pretty, haunting reflection about a one-sided relationship that’s far too jaded and insightful for a 21-year-old. In addition to his spare, sharp and sparkling musicianship, Roseman has a gift for storytelling, as is evident in “Jack Rose.” He uses acoustic guitar melodies, a touch of bass and handclaps to great effect, perfectly highlighting his vocals and harmonies. I’m still working out the deeper meaning of “Croesus Curse” but there seems to be a central theme running through these songs that has to do with what one does in one’s life and the regret of wasted time. “Croesus Curse” uses the same minimalist percussive sounds and handclaps with haunting guitar melodies. Brilliant.

I’ll be on the lookout for any live appearances and will list them here. Meanwhile, James is attending Tufts University in pursuit of a Computer Science degree and continues to explore his creative side, actively looking for gigs in the greater Boston area. Musicians and promoters, take note!

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