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James Lee Stanley

The Apocaloptimist

Review by Gary Hill

I love James Lee Stanley’s blend of sounds. Overall, it fits closest into folk music territory, but it’s got a real rock edge. There are other things here, though, ranging from jazz to country and even some progressive rock. This is a strong album that really feels like it would have been at home in the 1970s. It’s very classic in style.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at

Track by Track Review
Living the Party Life

Folk, jazz, progressive rock and more all seem to merge on the opener. It’s somewhat sedate, but also energetic. I love the bass work on this and the whole cut is just exceptional.

Gypsies in the Hallway
Another tasty piece, this is more pure folk. Still, there is some country and some rock in the mix. As good as the opener was, I think this is even more compelling.
Last Call
A mellower tune, this one feels like folk prog to me in a lot of ways. The vocal arrangement is classy, and the whole song just works well.
Drive My Car
Stanley brings his inimitable stylings to this Beatles tune. It’s a nice version. I love the harmonica on this piece.
Here We Have My Father
Soft rock and folk merge on this. It’s got a great lyrical message.
Highway 23 – Mobiustrip
A bit more of a rocker, this is a classy tune.
Elegy in E Minor
This folky instrumental is very strong. It’s actually one of the highlights and a good bit of variety.
When You Get Right Down to It
A bouncy, folk number, this is good stuff.
Lasts All Night
This mellow folk rocker is a strong entry. It’s one of the most accessible here, somehow.
Any Other Way
Combining folk and soft rock, this is a great slab of 1970s styled music.
Twinkle in Your Eye
The folk rock concept continues here. Somehow, though, this is one of the most evocative numbers here. It’s possibly my favorite song of the whole disc.
Lullabye (For Chloe)
One of the mellowest pieces of the whole set, this is quite pretty.
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