Press/Reviews

Boston Globe

This young performer…is developing quickly. He's reminiscent of national phenomenon Ray LaMontagne in the way he borrows the essence of older, classic-rock acts (in Christensen's case the Eagles, Neil Young, and the Band) and writes new songs with a gentle, soothing grace.

Northeast Performer

The first track on Road to be Free, James Christensen's debut, is in fact the title track and Christensen wastes no time in setting the tone of the CD. The title track begins with Neil Young-esque vocals and tells the story similar to the one Robert Frost told in his famous poem, "The Road Not Taken." The song is sad, but pleasant and the second track, "Android Lover" shows Christensen's more humorous side. "If I had an android lover / I would always wonder / is she thinking or processing data?" Christensen sings. The song is an example of what Christensen does so excellently on this album; he fills his songs with a touch of humor while managing to keep them still relevant to a more serious underlying subject. Road to be Free is straight-up folk rock in the singer/songwriter tradition with only two songs on the CD including musicians and instruments other than Christensen and his guitar. Road to be Free is sparse but consistent, and an enjoyable listen from beginning to end that never becomes tiring or repetitious. Christensen's gentle strumming and calm, but expressive voice gently move the CD from song to song, many of which are centered on the age old theme of lost love, but with others delving into deeper topics. While the delivery is always of great import, here the music serves primarily as the vehicle for the lyrics. The delivery is successful in its wide appeal and peaceful nature, but Christensen's lyrics are the real jewel on "Road to be Free." From love songs like "A Song about a Song about You" to the working class tribute, "The Hard Thing," Christensen's lyrics are clever and poignant. He manages to make even the love songs seem important and sincere, something all love songs should be but rarely are. Christensen shows great promise on Road to be Free, with songs that exhibit nearly universal appeal and are certainly about universally-suffered problems. Sure, there are imperfections, but they're easy to forgive coming from such a talented songwriter with so much to say.

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