“There is a mystic in the mountains high above the Great Salt Lake / He’s dancin’ in the heaven far below his golden gates / He’s lookin’ at our cars below / And laughin’ at our rock and roll,” sings Joshua James on the first lines of his song “Mystic.”
The singer-songwriter is based in the city called American Fork in Utah, where he co-owns Northplatte Records and pens these songs from his personal spiritual epicenter, Willamette Mountain. From his 2012 release entitled From the Top of Willamette Mountain, James deals in the currency of mysticism, trading thoughts of life’s repressiveness and his misgivings about organized religion for a search for the holy, a personal quest for transcendence, or something similar.
In 2017, James celebrated two new major milestones: the birth of his daughter and the release of his newest album, My Spirit Sister. Reflecting on his life now, James says that he “worked on making a record that settles in the center, somewhere between hope and heartbreak. The times in which these songs were made was one of personal upheaval and slight confusion.” He continues, “I was tying strings from which I could swing back and forth between emotions. Looking back now, I have only the recordings to remind me. And so, here she lies.”
The places that Joshua James’ music takes you can have a profound and lasting effect.
—Salt Lake City Weekly
With a hoarse, sweet voice that can fly from tremulous fragility to soulful roar, James brings a kind of grunge rock drive to rootsy folk.
—The Telegraph (UK)
Heartland folk with a dark edge, like Bright Eyes reimagined for the Americana set.