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Sunday, March 11, 2012

James Scott Fant - Pig Iron: The Blue Room Sessions I

James Scott Fant - Pig Iron: The Blue Room Sessions I
2012, James Scott Fant

James Scott Fant gave up dreams of rock n roll stardom long ago.  This working class son has been through the ringer of the music world; gone to Nashville and returned home to Northeast Texas.  He’s been through the wars both personally and professionally, but he’s always made it through, guitar in hand.  Back in his Northeast Texas home, Fant has won the respect of colleagues and fans alike.  James Scott Fant continues to work every day to be the best singer/songwriter he can be.  It must be working, as he is a regular guest at songwriting circles throughout Texas.  James Scott Fant recently embarked on a series of three five-song EPs under the moniker The Blue Room Sessions.  Recorded in his home with the help of wife, musician, producer and occasional co-writer Sandra Manseill, The Blue Room Sessions represent Fant’s most personal work to date.  The recently released first EP in the series, Pig Iron, will make a believer out of you.

Pig Iron opens with “Out Of Canaan”, a working class an anthem that underscores a carpe diem attitude.  It’s the anthem for a man who has run out of patience waiting for deliverance, and is headed out into the world to find it for himself.  The song is singularly moving in intent and melody.  You’d almost hesitate to use the word gorgeous here due to the stripped down nature of the arrangement, but there is a singular beauty to the song that’s hard to ignore.  Fant sounds more than a bit like a younger Willie Nelson on “Worse For The Wear”, a highly nuanced paean to perseverance.  Once again, there is sort of a primitive beauty here that’s impossible to miss.  The song isn’t a ballad, per se, but definitely pays tribute to the idea of surviving on one’s wits (and perhaps even a little bit of luck).  Fant makes a quiet orchestra of his guitar here, crafting an arrangement that perfectly fits the mood of the song; never doing too much or too little in the process.

“Restless Wind” explores the transitory nature of mankind; the need for change.  There is a darkness that overhangs this song, as Fant touches on issues of divorce and feeling stuck.  The regret here is not so much for the events, but for their base cause.  “8 Lb. Sledge” is a delicious bit of acoustic blues that will get inside your head and stay there.  It’s not often that a low key acoustic number will make you want to get up and dance, but you can just hear the R&B backbeat trying to break out of this with a screaming electric guitar.  Fant manages to do more with his guitar and voice than many artists could do with a full band.  Pig Iron winds down with the singer/songwriter panache of “Annie Sings The Blues”.  Once again, Fant may remind listeners of a younger Willie Nelson or perhaps even Townes Van Zandt, but these comparisons are incidental.  “Annie Sings The Blues” is a living still life to the connection between singer/songwriter and listener, and how an eternity of lifetimes can occur within the bounds of a single song.
James Scott Fant isn’t just a singer/songwriter, he’s an artist.  On Pig Iron, Fant paints masterpieces with nothing more than six strings and a road-worn voice full of primitive beauty.  Fant is ultimate confirmation that institutions such as Nashville have forgotten what making music is about.  Music is about real people like James Scott Fant putting themselves on the line night after night, telling real stories about real people and real life events, in wonderfully crafted and distinctive songs and voices.  If you find one new artist to follow in 2012, make it James Scott Fant.
Rating:                  5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about James Scott Fant at or Iron is available through the etailers below.  You may also purchase the download through the Wildy's World Amazon store.

          MP3                  iTunes

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