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James Rose


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If you come to New Orleans, you might find 26-year-old James Rose sitting quietly in the corner of a bar, café or music venue. His scruffy, blondi​sh-bro​wn hair sweeping across his face and his humble demeanor hide his deep musical purpose. Rooms turn to silence when he picks up a guitar.

Rose’s original songs are often described as indie folk. His music would fit in seamlessly on a playlist with Iron and Wine, Bon Iver and Elliott Smith, but his inspiration is much broader. He’s moved by music ranging from 19th century compos​itions by Frédéric François Chopin to the 1970’s American power pop band Big Star.

Rose’s long overdue single Sun Rays/Breathe will be released on August 1, 2015 by a new independent rock label based in New Orleans called Stranded South Records. The ethereal melodies are accessible, but the occasional unexpected chord and the profundity of his lyrics provide a depth that listeners can endlessly explore.

He takes us from the majestic, San Gabriel Mountains, which surround his hometown of Pasadena, California, to the Pacific Ocean, and beyond. One of his most important periods of self-d​iscove​ry was on a small ranch just north of Santa Barbara where he spent hours immersed in the lush forests writing music.

Rose sings with a gripping vulner​ability about love, existe​ntiali​sm and substance abuse. His words, like the best poetry, offer fresh insight into familiar themes. It’s not what he says, it’s how he says it. “My method of writing lyrics is usually done through the subcon​scious and goes through a dream-like filter,” Rose said. “It gives the songs the opportunity to float in the air and not be tied down to a specific event or story.”

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