BackStage: Los Angeles Interviews

“James Lee Stanley is one of the great-undiscovered singer/songwriters in America,” and one of the best acoustic singer/songwriters I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in concert…and one of my favorite human beings on this planet. Last year he released a CD titled “All Wood & Stones” with renditions of all-acoustic versions of Rolling Stones songs. I was familiar with his own songs, and prior to attending the CD-release concert for “All Wood & Stones” I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to hear more of James’ original music, and wondered how even HE could produce a version of Rolling Stones songs that would do justice to their work. He, and John Batdorf accomplished it with the same finesse that James produces all of his work, and they earned a write-up in a November 2006 U.S.A. Today article for that achievement. John Batdorf, Peter Tork, and Timothy B. Schmidt were among the musicians who contributed to that CD.

James has been busy. In addition to touring the U.S., he released a live concert CD in September, in his
“Two-Man Band” format with Peter Tork–titled
“Live-Backstage @ The Coffee Gallery.”
A gem performance of acoustic guitar, fresh wit, and honest lyrics.

On January 13, 2007, I attended the CD-release/concert for James Lee Stanley’s new solo CD
“The Eternal Contradiction.”
In this CD, James covers an array of Socially conscious topics that he expresses with his consistent artistic delivery and articulate lyrics. My personal favorite tracks are “Let The Tree Fall,” “This Fleeting Moment,” and “Here We Are.” Another great track is “Mary January”–the story of a woman whom no one notices until she disappears, and no one is quite sure when or how that happened. It’s an insightful and thought-provoking song.

In a recent interview, I asked James how he appears to sculpt songs with the ease that Michelangelo appeared to work in marble. He said that he works at a song until he “gets it.” He shared that one song, took an entire year of reworking, and filled an entire spiral notebook to get it “right.” He listens to a lot of music, and reads a lot. This approach produces a sophisticated and fresh song-writing combination. Some of the artists that have influenced him are Steely Dan, Miles Davis, and a broad spectrum of Jazz.

James also possesses an open and candid sense of humor that can make you laugh until you cry. His ability to be honest about himself and life, can allow one to find the courage and the ability within to be more accepting of one’s self.

James will be appearing in an upcoming interview on “Backstage: Los Angeles” and in the interim, can be found at www.JamesLeeStanley.com

-Sandy Jacobson-
1-23-07

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