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Paris James | Death Letter

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Official Paris James Website Paris James Book Facebook MTV MySpace ReverbNation YouTube Twitter

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United States - Arizona

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Blues: Acoustic Blues Blues: Delta Style Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Death Letter

by Paris James

From upbeat slide to gut-wrenching roots blues, Paris James delivers a raw acoustic punch on his debut cd ''Death Letter'' that will leave you gasping for air and wanting more... Don't leave without picking up your copy today.
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Skinnin' Board Stomp
2:12 $0.99
2. Folk Tales Intro
0:29 $0.99
3. Folk Tales
3:28 $0.99
4. Wake Up Mary
4:23 $0.99
5. Death Letter
3:16 $0.99
6. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
3:31 $0.99
7. Low Down Blues
2:58 $0.99
8. 32-20 Blues
2:10 $0.99
9. I Ain't Superstitious
3:45 $0.99
10. 44 Blues
3:24 $0.99
11. Ride That Tide Intro
0:06 $0.99
12. Ride That Tide
2:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

It's what moves you. Joy, sadness, anger, lust and pain. When Paris James runs his brass slide along the guitar strings and starts to moan, there is an unmistakable movement in the room. People feel where Paris is coming from. His blues brings all of your emotions back to the surface, and he does it with a warmth you just can't deny. Because Paris James' music is as real as it gets. There's depth here that you can't achieve from listening to old recordings, reading magazine articles on the blues or checking out concert appearances by the greats still with us. It doesn't come to you that way. Paris doesn't just sing about Hellhounds, he feels them hot on his heals.

Paris James' roots run deep. While his maternal grandfather, Reverand Frank Cubby, ran the largest black Baptist church in Georgia, Paris' paternal grandfather ran bootleg whiskey through backwoods Florida. One man shepherding souls toward the light, the other creeping through the shadows. These two very disparate existences collided in Paris' parents, both God-fearing, gospel-singing souls destined to produce a genuinely talented son born inside a southern church.

But it was while growing up in Phoenix, AZ, though, that Paris was exposed to a lot of serious blues. On the west side of town, he'd hang around the old storefronts with their outdoor speakers. Lincoln Liquors, among others, blasting the likes of Muddy Waters and T-Bone Walker down Buckeye Road. And later, when the preachers set up revival tents directly across the street, Paris had the best of both musical worlds. For Paris, this audio street fight just added fuel to the fire smoldering within.

So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Paris James' debut cd. Decide on your own if he isn't all this and more. Groove to the things that move you. Let the music bring all your emotions back to the surface as Paris' blues rocks you, shakes you and makes you feel alive again. His music will change you... because Paris IS the real thing.



to write a review

Kevin Simonsen

Wow! Why isn't this guy signed?
I heard about Paris James thru MySpace and picked up a copy at his cd release party. It was packed. Even though the title of the cd made me think it was mostly slow roots material, it's a nice 50/50 upbeat mix that's obviously organized in a logical progression by mood. Besides the gritty title track which is VERY cool (should be a hit), I also enjoyed his take on the Robert Johnson cover of "32-20" and "Low Down Blues", along with the instramental "Ride That Tide" at the end. Do yourself a favor and buy one too. Paris really is the real deal.


best old time blues sound around
Exceptional first album. I look forward to more from Paris. His classic bluesman style and sound is first rate.

Bill Mitchell

This a great CD of deep, acoustic blues. This man should be signed to a major blues label.

Didier Chaumier

Spontaneous, warm and full of expression
This is the first album by the artist Paris James. Its title Death Letter appeals to us and so does its jacket illustrated with old-fashioned black and white photos.

As for the content, it is appealing just as well: he plays his songs on his own, simply accompanying himself on his acoustic guitar, just like the old-timers used to before the modern era of electricity.

When I listened to the first piece, I found it a bit confusing. On the other hand, the next piece gets you to the heart of the matter: he's playing real "slide" guitar in the "roots" style. He isn't a hugely talented technician on the "slide," but he succeeds in making you forget about it thanks to his singing, which is spontaneous, warm and full of expression.

I also have the feeling that the recording of this album was made at home. Its sound is a bit distant, and it lacks the amplitude and the clarity of the recordings that you make in studios today.

There are "pops" audible in the vocal on track number 09, and the linking of the pieces is sometimes haphazard. But maybe he's doing it on purpose so as to fit the style more closely.

For those who are fond of this style, this album is quite simply worth listening to..

Ingemar Karlsson

It´s a relief to hear that the old true blues still lives...
I received the album 'Death Letter' and I must say I was very impressed. It´s a relief to hear that the old true blues still lives. Good singing and at last somebody playing the slide so good. Congratulations on a good album.

Niki D'Andrea

This is the real deal.
The first CD from local bluesician Paris James harks back to the back-porch country blues of the 1920s, when players like Blind Blake and Blind Lemon Jefferson were finger-picking through a mix of folk, gospel hymns, and Delta blues. The sounds of spirituals and the South that dominate James' CD aren't surprising when you consider he was born inside a Florida church and had one grandfather who ran the largest black Baptist church in Florida and another who ran bootleg liquor through the backwoods. So James' songwriting isn't born of some imagined place or notions of standard song subjects within the blues genre — this is the real deal. James' style is straight-up no-frills, with only guitar for instrumentation. On "Folk Tales," James' voice takes on a mournful wail over soft slide guitar, as he tells the story of a man who wants to bring his lover back from the dead. The CD's title track, "Death Letter," is a low-key dirge that would almost sound like an old slave spiritual if it weren't for the eerie minor guitar chords reminiscent of 1940s blues picker Skip James (no relation). Other tracks, like "32-20 Blues," have more of an upbeat, boogie-woogie strut, while instrumentals like "Ride That Tide" showcase James' adroit acoustic plucking.

Douglas Lauber

If you love old-style earthy blues, this is the album for you. Great singing and some amazing acoustic guitar work.

Steven Capes, Phoenix, AZ

“Old School” Blues at its best!
This is “Old School” Blues at its best! Paris James certainly is able to take you back in time. As great as this album is (and I really like it!), it brings out only a fraction of the talent Paris James has. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Paris play live with a band at the Rhythm Room on Indian School, and I’ve heard him solo in more intimate venues like Monroe’s in Downtown Phoenix or Quiessence Restaurant & Wine Bar at The Farm at South Mountain. The only difference between Paris and a megastar is exposure and promotion. Currently, there is a record company and an agent who promotes megastars missing out on making a lot more money. I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more from Paris in the future.

Graeme Scott

...this CD is a joy for purists.
This brand new debut CD from Paris James is like
stepping back in time and listening to many of the old
blues shouters. Paris has just that certain way of
phrasing a lyric and playing guitar that smacks of all
that has been, what is and what will be with this
genre of music we loving call the blues.

Here we have a man who has absorbed the influences of
previous masters and distilled them into his own
style. All you have on this CD is Paris and his guitar
and a sound so stripped back to basics that all that
is missing is the crackles, scratches etc and it could
have been recorded back in the 1920's. It is all the
stronger for such simplicity. Twelve tracks, if you
include two spoken intros, a little over thirty one
minutes and a mix of covers, traditional and self
penned numbers provide the joys on this fine album.

It is hard to tell where Paris ends and say Blind
Lemon Jefferson takes over such is the similarities in
style. But this is no cheap rip off. Instead it is a
faithful, yet modern, take on what is, for many, real

The sequencing has married together Death Letter and
See That My Grave Is Kept Clean appropriately. 32-20
Blues, I Ain't Superstitious and 44 Blues by messers
Johnson, Dixon and Sykes respectively are truly
wonderful. Opening and closing tracks Skinnin' Board
Stomp and Ride That Tide are both tasty instrumentals.
Folk Tales, Wake Up Mary and Low Down Blues make up
the rest of the collection. Not only is this CD a joy
for purists, but can also be enjoyed by all comers to
the world of the blues.

Review by Graeme Scott
Blues Matters! Issue 35 Dec'06-Jan'07