Old Soul

Merrily James

Seattle native Merrily James began as a gospel ingenue before being picked up, at the tender age of 17, by Showtime at the Apollo to perform in front of a national audience. Since then, she’s shared the stage with legends ranging from Linda Ronstadt to Smokey Robinson and Bobby McFerrin. Though she’s able to hold her own with elder statesmen, James’ music appeals to youngbloods, too. Street With No Name is spacious piano balladry”desolate and sweet. Here, the singer’s voice is dusky and soft, but on the jazzy Get Up Go Out she loosens up for some soulful motivation. Muted horns and wah-wah pedals help create a lazy, vintage vibe. Things aren’t always so peachy, though, and on Long Long Time James has a little fun with wordplay while taking a lover to task. Not a little rip that a stitch will fix / Now your tricks don’t look so slick she croons. It’s a torchy little number that showcases the Merrily James trifecta: vivid lyrics, a limber voice that warms every word, and an old soul.