Los Angeles-based Susan James is no stranger to the music scene, but she hasn’t had a foolproof journey. James occasionally takes the long road on her latest release, Highways, Ghosts, Hearts & Home.
James’ Holly Williams-meets-Sara Evans vocals could easily make a home on any Nashville stage. And at times, she blends into the background: “Airstream Girl,” the disc’s urgent opener, tells the requisite, tumbleweed-of-a-girl story. Here, James’ vocals fight to match the music’s fervent pace. That affliction strikes again on the too-traditional country of “Thank You Tomorrow” and the rebellious “Cold Moon on the Highway.”
She soon returns to the spotlight, finding her perfect home on the ironically titled, “How to Fix a Broken Girl.” The lush, simple instrumentation pairs well with James’ imperative, repetitive call of “Tell me how to fix a broken girl.” Fellow bare-bones tracks, “Old Jug Song” and “Out in the Woods,” refreshingly round out the set.
Despite James’ highways and ghosts, she eventually finds her heart – and her home.
Highways, Ghosts, Hearts & Home is out now.