Jam of the Day | James Wallace and the Naked Light – Colored Lights

James Wallace’s story teeters on the edge of modern-day-mythos. The son of a cargo ship captain, he stowed away on a china-bound vessel carrying, among other things, crates of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and used electronics on their way to be refurbished. In his napsack, he brought enough food for the month-long journey, a guitar, a wind-up record player, and the complete works of Paul Simon and various records covering 60’s folk to 90’s psychedelic pop. It was a big napsack.

Once in China, he toured the country, and eventually played a few sets, showcasing songs he wrote in the midst of his recent adventure at sea. Amazingly, the most influential music blogger in China, LeeHom Fong, happened to be in the audience one of those nights, hailing him as a modern-day Dylan, giving Wallace overnight fame and fortune. This led to the usual perils faced by artists unwillingly thrust into the spotlight – drugs ate up his money, and after an embarrassing arrest in Mong Kok that left him broken and disgraced, he returned to the states, shamed, struggling to maintain a grasp on his sanity.

He retreated to Appalachia, where he volunteered to play piano at a small Black Mennonite Church on Sundays and the occasional Wednesday night when prayer was in great demand. Writing as therapy for his mending soul – he began to piece together an album, that will soon be released as More Strange News From Another Star. [1]

Our Jam of the Day, “Colored Lights,” is the perfect illustration of how he blends his own life-experience and ancillary influences to make music that is uniquely his own. Check it out below.

[1] All facts of the above post are subject to my vague recollection of a press release I read while drinking on the couch one evening. Some, meaning most, may have been embellished or totally fabricated.

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