Friday, July 27, 2018

J.D. Westmoreland Celebrates Royal Records Release

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 10:39 AM

click to enlarge J.D. Westmoreland - PAUL CHANDLER MOULTON
  • Paul Chandler Moulton
  • J.D. Westmoreland

Shangri-La Records continues its tradition of remaining absolutely undaunted in the face of the Memphis heat. This Friday, they'll host an early evening show by J.D. Westmoreland, who's celebrating the vinyl release of a single he cut at Royal Studios. It's one of a handful of releases by the new Royal Records label, and, as such, it's an interesting statement of eclecticism by the new imprint.

Westmoreland, perhaps best known as a member of the popular "Gypsy-Jazz-Bluegrass-Skiffle" group Devil Train, is revealing his skills as a singer/songwriter of late. The single, which is already available online, has a laid back vibe that brings to mind early ’70s Dylan, with his unhurried vocals layered over a soul shuffle tinged with pedal steel ("Birds of Paradigm") or sprightly, uptempo folk ("Can't Seem to Get it Right").

As Westmoreland says, "For this particular project I wanted more of a clean, simple production so that the songs could really express the story. Both these songs deal with the ambiguity of love and circumstance. I wanted to crystallize emotions in a simple format – kind of a bright way of looking at darkness.”

On the A-side, it's especially encouraging to hear the warm electric piano tones of Royal coloring the country/soul saunter of Westmoreland's writing. Somehow, in this age of chaos, the marriage of homespun poetry and funky urban grooves does the soul good. A perfect choice for a vinyl release, and an intriguing new twist from Royal.
click to enlarge "Birds of Paradigm" single
  • "Birds of Paradigm" single

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