While I am someone that is obviously a primary supporter of Texas Country, I am an outsider so I look at things with a different set of eyes. Some in the Texas Scene will continue to dismiss other acts because they are not Texas Based, but rather from Nashville.
That is concerning to me as I have said many times. There are many Texas bands who dance on the pop country line and at times I question some band’s commitment to full country. Today, I want to recognize a clearly very talented Nashville based artist, James Dupré.
Hailing from Bayou Chicot, Lousianna, James has been busy long before he landed a record deal. I had come across him through Spotify, but his YouTube channel came up immediately once I started digging into him a bit more. I many saw covers on there he had uploaded in 2007 and what a voice from a young Dupré. Many of his videos are over 100k views which shows he really has something special to share. No fancy production, just a young man singing with his guitar. Don’t believe me? Ellen DeGeneres even asked him to preform on the show back in 2010. Impressive to say the least.
I’m not here to write about his YouTube Channel however. James has an album that he released in 2016 called “Stoned to Death” and I think it is excellent. There is a smoothness to his voice that is captivating to the listener and has subsequently resulted in many repeated spins of this on Spotify for me.
“Green Light” (written with Jordan Lehning, Andrew Combs, and Skylar Wilson) has an upbeat bouncy style that I found myself bobbing around with. I love the piano, fiddle, and banjo throughout this track as he sings about his younger days in Louisiana. It’s a song that has plenty of personality and you can crank up without feeling guilty. The instrumentation on this works so well together and helps give it that upbeat country sound. It’s the perfect track to start an album off because you grab the listeners attention right off the bat. James told me that it has become one of his favorite songs to perform live and I can easily hear why.
“Someday Today” (written with Neal Coty and Brent Baxter) begins softly with Dupré singing along with minimal instruments in the background. He said that it was written after having been in Nashville for a while and he began to feel homesick for Louisiana. I personally have not been to New Orleans, but with his vivid descriptions you can certainly picture yourself walking to cobblestone streets taking in all the sights he describes.
“Sad Song” (Co-written with Jerry Spillman) is a track where Dupré channeled his love for the somber country ballads that he grew up listening to. Noting it was his first co-written song after moving to Nashville, he explained how the sad songs often "feel like home." This feeling resulted in the upbeat tempo and I couldn't help but notice the magic to his voice that really stuck with me on this track. I could really see this song doing well released to radio as it is country but has enough flair to be eaten up by mainstream listeners.
What I took from this album was that there is some incredible Nashville talent, like Dupré that needs to get some attention. Sure, I love Texas Country, but there are clearly many Nashville artists that are trying to fight back from the bro-country, pop fad that plagues the radio. While I have turned my back on mainstream radio, you better believe I’m going to try and shine a light on artists like James Dupré. There’s no better way to see what I mean by listening, so stream it on spotify below!
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!