Jimmy Charles first came to national attention when AmericanIdol sent him to Hollywood. Now comes a seven-song collection titled HARD WAY TO GO. Produced by Paul David (CeCe Winans, Andre Crouch, Jonny Lang), the EP is a showcase for Charles’ musical range from soulful ballads to guitar-shredding rockers.
Charles’ spirit on this album demonstrates that he is more than just a strong and confident vocalist. The EP kicks off in high gear with the guitar-driven “Blue Spaces,”made for happy-go-lucky beach listening. Charles sings: Hey shotgun pilot /the coast is clear / let’s sail out of dodge / like two beach ballin’ buccaneers. It’s a fun ear-worm that gets the listener in the mood for next summer’s sand-between-the-toes seashore fun.
“I Am Not Alone” (also his current single) tells the story of dealing with cancer from the perspective of a teenager, a married man, a young mother and a senior citizen. The song becomes an anthem of hope and strength as each person in turn finds the determination to carry on. The song also is part of a social message that Jimmy is promoting for change. #IAmNotAlone https://www.facebook.com/iamnotalonechallenge/ (On that subject, please read my personal note, at the foot of this review.)
Another track on the EP, “Superman,” was written for Zero Cancer to promote prostate cancer awareness. The song was inspired by Charles’ respect for mentor and cancer survivor Paul Shukla. Although both songs have a serious subject, they are definitely not downers. Rather, they use lyrics and strong melodies to inspire and uplift the listener. The video for “Superman”was trending in the Number One spot at CMT for over a week, with shares running into the thousands.
“Rollin’ On” reveals Charles’ Southern Rock influences. The song is drawn from his personal experience and the perseverance needed to keep focused on the journey and keep rollin’ on despite life’s obstacles. He switches to a more tender mood with “God And A Woman,” combining acoustic guitar and mandolin to convey the peace found in love and faith.
The EP wraps with the title song, “Hard Way To Go.” It is Charles’ way of encouraging those who battle with addiction to know that it’s okay to take a step forward but then fall back as long as you keep on trying.
This is a strong outing from a singer/songwriter with a bright future ahead of him.
The album was produced and mixed by Paul David, Ocean Way and Warner Bros. Studios, except “I Am Not Alone,” produced by Boo Mitchell,Royal Studios, Memphis.
A Personal Note: Two of my clients and I attended the fundraiser and CD Release
Celebration for ‘Hard Way To Go,’ and it was so inspiring that my clients (in their early 20s) had to wipe their eyes. Being a cancer survivor many times over, I know the FIGHT is one of the hardest things you have to face. With the commitment of NEVER GIVING UP, the love and support from families, to friends to complete strangers, filled my heart with hope as it did everyone in the room. We left the “Church” with an inspiration, quite different from your normal CD release celebration. WE CELEBRATED Life.
For more information: https://www.jimmycharlesmusic.com
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Preshias Harris is a music journalist andmusic career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiringartists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology 101: TheSinger/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at www.collegeofsongology.com Follow her blog at www.nashvillemusicline.com