"Prison Font" is the debut solo effort from James A.M. As The Deli Magazine NYC describes it:
"With Spring on the horizon, singer/songwriter James A.M. Downes’ new EP, 'Prison Font' is perfect for thawing those winter-frozen hearts. Due out 3/17, the project consist in rich folk pop songs where Downes convey a wide variety of emotions. Tracks like “Bait My Soul” are full of sweet melodies, charming twang and upbeat cheerfulness, whereas “Feel My Love,” is a stripped down folk ballad where the songwriters' powerful vocals take center stage. With 'Prison Font,' James has boldly displayed his talent as a songwriter, and solidified himself as someone to watch." — Henry Solotaroff-Webber
Downes' other hat as co-founding member and singer/songwriter of NYC rock band, The End Of America, (prophetically named) endures, but his solo work thrives concurrently with the announcement of a 6-song EP, Prison Font, set for release on March 17th.
And now seeing to it that this is a proper introduction, here's some disclosure from the artist himself...
One time this snake pit of a lady spit on me in a Manhattan subway station. Another time I got lucky and married a hopelessly wonderful girl in my hometown of Old Saybrook, CT. In a fever, I've been repeatedly trying to write my favorite song all my life. The only tattoo I have is my deceased dog's name written in Old English across my shoulders. I cried and cried. I have no idea how, but I haven't been arrested yet. The soundtracks to Homeward Bound and Jurassic Park changed my life. Then The Beatles did. Then Weezer did.
If you’re reading this, I imagine you’re trying to decide whether you give a shit about the music my friends and I have created. In the end, it’s up to you. But if you enjoy musical stories of naked insecurity and self-reflection/depreciation in the service of getting someone to crack a little smile, then I think I have half a chance.
released March 17, 2017
Guitar: Greg Seltzer
Bass: Andrew Seltzer
Percussion: Matt Cascella
Cello: Katie Weissman
Recorded by Trevor Leonard (and extra harmonies!)
Mixed/Mastered by Dave Downham at Gradwell House
Photos by Matt Cascella
Copyright 2017 Forest Park Recordings
jamesAMdownes.com | forestparkrecordings.com
All songs written by James A.M. Downes (Buzzing Breeze Music - ASCAP), Greg Seltzer (Gseltz Publishing - BMI), Andrew Seltzer (Notice Me Publishing - BMI), Matt Cascella (Big Shins Music - ASCAP). “Rolling Stoned” by James A.M. Downes.
A very special thank you to Gregs, Anj, and Matts. It was an honor crafting these tunes with you all. It wouldn’t have been the same without your collaboration. This recording will always serve as a snap shot of the winter that we bunkered down and created this music together. Long may the Knights of Saybrook ride. Thanks to Trevor for tracking and harmonies. Thanks to Dave for making everything I record sound better. Thanks to Katie for sweet sweet cello. Emiliano Flowerman, you are a mad man. You came to track piano from 1am to 6am in a cavernous horror-movie-empty NYC music venue. And Nics, thanks for your constant love and support. You're my favorite person. -James
BAIT MY SOUL: I saw a beautiful girl floating down the street with “fuck off” lips and a face so sweet. She wore a knit hat that said “Satan.” I lazered in on her and our eyes did meet. The other angels can’t compete. Today is a good day for forsaking. I said "I could really use your help right now. I need a way out but I can’t see how." I’ll tear a page from Robert Johnson’s book: bait my soul on a fishing hook. Oh baby, would you please take care of me? Of course I’ll pay your spiritual fees for a Benz and clear complexion. Now I race the streets of Dis in a bucket seat. Dante failed to enjoy this treat: down here, everyone is naked. I know where I wanna spend eternity. All you saints look down on me. Well, I don’t need your persuasion. Thank you, but I’ll hang with dead rock stars and in bathroom stalls in Hell’s dive bars I’ll have me some spectral fornication.
Track Name: Not Thinking it Over
NOT THINKING IT OVER: No, I’ll never run away. That’s not the path that I choose. Living to fight another day is for fakes with nothing to lose. I’m not thinking it over. My mind’s not wandering. This argument’s insane, it’s gonna tear me apart. You know I’m never going to change. I’m the same that I was from the start. You’re thinking I’m crazy and I’m not blaming you. My promise still remains: I could bear you for miles. But would it cause you any pain to lift the hood every once in while? The circuitry’s alive and no one noticed.
Track Name: Prison Font
PRISON FONT: Do my sleep talks freak you out (fevered ramblings)? The doubt that they must bring about. I imagine you (as) a waning moon. You used to shine but haven’t tried since, leaving tired winter-lit rooms and that screaming heavy silence. Don’t leave me alone. I swear this time I’ve grown. Does the name of my dead dog turn you on (tattooed in a prison font)? I imagine you (as) my favorite tune. You flutter and swoon. In your defiance you left tired winter-lit rooms that scream with heavy silence.
Track Name: Restless Ones
RESTLESS ONES: I will play my guitar and my friends will sing along. It’s crazy how some live forever. It’s crazy how some never die. And how some become your favorite for no real reason why. I was gonna go to college but I guess I’ll just write some songs. I will shout out some words and I hope folks sing along. I used to want to live forever but now I’m not so sure. I’d be cool with just a couple of years if they were beside her. All night long I hear you screaming over and over… I feel it coming up slow, we’re the restless ones. In the frozen New England winter I was made whole when she opened the door and let the light in the basement of my soul. I had searched for her forever. I made an enemy of time. But at the edge of that endless wasteland she’d be mine.
Track Name: Feel My Love
FEEL MY LOVE: Your love’s like a rose as red as your blood. Mine’s like a towering wall with all portals sealed shut. I want you to feel... Can you feel my love? Pedals fall to the floor. Running low on your touch. It burns up the feeling and I can’t get enough. Hell, it’s my life and I’m still kickin’. If you burn out like a light we both know what you’ll be missin’. That’s why I ask you tonight, can you feel my love?
Track Name: Rolling Stoned
ROLLING STONED: Hey Nics, does it feel like there’s no hope in this town? I might take some risks, oh lord, but I won’t let you down. No, I won’t let you down. Tell me, how amazing would it be to be rolling stoned with you beside me? You see where those green and blue rectangles meet? That’s where we need to be. “Fame this” and I hear “Fame that.” I don’t need a crown. Though I might need your help, oh girl, but I won’t let you down. No, I won’t let you down.