SKYWAY MAN – ” The World Only Ends When You Die “

Posted: December 25, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Despite its hefty title, James Wallace’s second album under the cosmic moniker Skyway Man positively blooms with vivacity. Wallace explores the very fabric of living through both ends of the telescope: Maybe it’s reminiscing on that singular feeling, way back when you were 18. 

The sophomore long-player from cosmic country innovator James Wallace’s Skyway Man project, World Only Ends When You Die is a ramshackle road trip billed as a “psych-folk opera” that evokes a Muscle Shoals-backed Grateful Dead piloting a boogie van into the Greek underworld. A classic hero’s journey spurned by the twin existential crises of paternal death and a world being torn asunder by disease and competing political ideologies, the ten-track set is awash in metaphysical angst, yet positively ebullient in its response to it.

Recorded at Spacebomb in Wallace’s native Virginia with the studio’s house band and Big Easy vocal duo the Lostines, Skyway Man effusively combines elements of country, folk, blues, gospel, R&B, and indie rock, sometimes all at once — sonic touchstones include Randy Newman, Lee Hazlewood, Daniel Romano, Norman Greenbaum, Flaming Lips, and Dennis Wilson. Commencing with the slow-burning “Muddy Water,” Wallace knows that the road to enlightenment is fraught with danger (“Muddy water like a piece of ancient church glass flowing/We’re on the darkest stretch, but the bend ahead is glowing”), but he remains sanguine throughout the expedition. The radiant gospel-rock suite “Sometimes Darkness/Railroad/Sometimes Darkness Reprise” looks to Jesus for affirmation, while the airy “Rise of the Integratron” peers into the inky blue, pairing billowy Canterbury-style progressive rock with a snippet of a 1953 speech by UFOlogist George Van Tassel. It’s heady stuff, but Wallace and company imbue the proceedings with so much heart and soul — and considerable pop acumen — that the compulsion to hear and see where this sci-fi Canterbury Tales will go next never abates.

Written by James Wallace

The Musicians: James Wallace Guitars – Alan Parker Additional Guitars – Sean Thompson Drums/Percussion – Pinson Chanselle Upright Bass – Nate Mathews Electric Bass – Ric Alessio Piano/Keys – James Wallace Saxophone – Caleb Hickman Background Vocals – Casey Jane, Camille Weatherford

James Wallace’s new album as Skyway Man, The World Only Ends When You Die, is a cosmic and chooglin’ tour de force … he’s achieved something extraordinary here.”

“A psych-folk opera of spaced-out country and sci-fi gospel and blues, laced with mythology and nods to George Van Tassel, legendary ufologist … The new Skyway Man album is really incredible.” 

“This thing is something else, folks.”

The tenth and final chapter from Skyway Man’s ‘The World Only Ends When You Die’, out now from Mama Bird Recording Co. Released October 23rd, 2020

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