CD Review: James Christian / Lay It all On Me
It’s been nine years since James Christian released his second solo album Meet The Man and I wasn’t sure what to expect from him since he’s been busy writing, recording and producing House of Lords, Robin Beck and Fiona Flanagan – all full time projects that have also toured throughout Europe with some sporadic US dates sprinkled in as well.
Anyone seeing a James Christian solo release must ask the same question I have when I first see it: what is the difference between House of Lords and James Christian the solo artist? Well songwriting contributions may be varied, different elements brought into the various types of music being presented with House of Lords being a bit harder in edge and in overall theme. One thing that is constant is that James the vocalist, put simply one of the top rock singers in the business, is always going to produce polished, high quality soaring melodic vocals that paint a picture for the mind and that are so pleasant to the ears. With Lay It All On Me James takes the listener on a journey of faith, love, luck, hope and most of all fun. If you don’t want to have a good time, don’t listen. But if you want an album chock full of delights for the senses and great to listen to in car with the windows down, this record is for you.
The title track “Lay It All On Me” opens the album with typical Christian over the top two part harmonies and a song about burdening responsibilities. Very catchy chorus that is heavy on keyboards. Cool guitar riff on the bridge.
“Sacred Heart” (no Dio cover sorry) has Christian at his best with emotion filled lyrics about life choices while still having self worth and self fulfillment with life. It’s my favorite vocal on the album with tremendous pace and slick guitar work on the bridge.
“Day In The Sun” is the summer feel good song I always long for when I obtain music in June! A song about going for goals in life, this song will inspire you to never stop trying for something if you want it bad enough. A tad of a bit lower vocal register from James this track it has more of the same as the others with some delightful keyboard work from Jeff Kent.
“Believe In Me” is a song about faith. It’s slower but not exactly a rock ballad this track will make you want to relax with your significant other and have a drink or two. James seems like a romantic at heart and his passion for life shines with this song.
“You’re So Bad” focuses in on that relationship with someone you know has its good points but then the negative tendencies come full circle and it’s time to go. Great harmonies, lots of keys and plenty of good time vibes here.
“Don’t Come Near Me” has some serious guitars! Maybe the albums hardest song about having that one person you know you want to have but (for whatever reason) you shouldn’t. Don’t shy away from blasting this one on your car stereos!
“Let It Shine” slows the album down a tad but still is full of raw emotion from Christian. It’s a song about hope that will really help you relax..it did for me.
“She’s All The Rage” brings the album back to a power anthem about a hot chick who can’t help but think the sun should rise and set based on her moods – nice guitar work with some serious heavy drumming!
“Sincerely Yours” has one of those chorus chants you can’t get out of your head because it’s so catchy and easy to sing with. Another jem of a vocal from Christian. Letter writing..I thought that went out with the advent of emails? Just kidding James..
“Shot In The Dark” (no Ozzy cover!) is a slower tempo track dealing with a man trying to cope with life but he can’t seem to catch a break. This is the only track where I thought the pace was too slow. I think it would have worked better a s more up-tempo song. Grest lyrically but musically it didn’t move me..like most of the album did.
“Welcome to Your Future” is more like it James! Up-tempo and kept me playing air drums and slamming my head up and down! The song about being positive and remaining on the path of life that will make you the most satisfied with what you want to do in it. More strong harmonies and a catchy chorus.
“Lay It All On me” exceeded my expectations, especially taking into account the type of workload Mr. Christian has been up to for the past nine years or so. When you’re the lead singer of a band as successful as House Of Lords with such an undeniable sound, rich in melodic vocal tones and power rock tunes, why would you stray far from what works? Well, thankfully for all of us fans he doesn’t. James knows what his fan base likes and expects and does not disappoint on “Lay It All On Me”. If you want fun, good time rock n roll with a little bit of spiritual guidance and direction, take a right hand turn on “Summertime Boulevard” and park in the James Christian lot of melodic rock done right.
‘Lay It All On Me’
‘Day In The Sun’
‘Believe In Me’
‘You’re So Bad’
‘Don’t Come Near Me’
‘Let It Shine’
‘She’s All The Rage’
‘Shot In The Dark’
‘Welcome To Your Future’