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  • Writer's pictureLuke Wolk

Jim Lampos "Occulations" Album Review

Artist: Jim Lampos



Jim Lampos is a well traveled singer/songwriter with nine albums in his discography dating back to 1997. His sound has been described as "roots rock for the thinking person." In the words of the Virginain-Pilot: "Is he the soul searching poet or the passionate rock and roller? Lampos is both." He has been featured on two installments of the VH1 show Midnight Minute performing two of his original compositions.

His latest release Occulations is a ten song Americana journey that clocks in at 37 minutes. The compositions take the listener into the world of a wonderful lyricist and musician. Lampos weaves through his songs like a master seamstress. His sound is anchored in the waters that his predecessors like Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and Gordon Lightfoot all sailed. But he adds his own perspective to the conversation, moving the music forward without losing sight of its roots.

At first listen through the album Crossing Longfellow Bridge is a standout track. I think in part it is the title that piqued my interest. There is something about the title that says it is going to tell a great story.... and it does. It reminds me of the Mark Knopfler track Philadelphia. Not in a musical sense, but in the way the lyrics make me want to know how it plays out.

The very next track Ceremonies of Baron Samedi takes the listener to a much different mood. Although the acoustic guitar is clearly the main instrument on this record, the piano on this cut adds a dark and at times dissonant quality that is a departure from the other tracks. It has almost a spoken word approach to it at times that demands attention. The way the color of the piano was used on this track to paint the picture is simply perfection. 

Another title that caught my interest is Under The Spell of The Moon. From this writer's perspective it is a song of regret. It is the kind of songwriting that is simple in structure but deep in delivery. The vocal performance moves through the chord changes quite freely. There is a relaxed delivery to Jim Lampos' vocals that is rather engaging. At times he's more on top of the subtle groove than part of it, giving the sense that sometimes he is stepping out of the song to just tell a story.

If you are a fan of the heyday of folk music and the master songwriters of that time  this record is a must listen. All ten tracks are quite wonderful and thought provoking. It is a deeply relaxing listen with interesting lyrics. He is truly a poet trapped in the body of a musician. Lampos easily blurs the lines between music and poetry creating a soundscape that is not only pleasing to the ears, but also the soul. With lyrics like " I'm stuck in a tavern with all these loose enders who missed the boat" Lampos tells stories that most adults that have had any struggles will find something familiar to hold on to. It is that type of lyric that separates  the top tier of songwriters from the sea of pretty good ones. Jim Lampos can hang with any of them.

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