Get yourself a man like Jo James.
After the Austin, TX singer-songwriter and guitarist’s wife, Chelsea, suffered from a flare-up of Ulcerative Colitis–a chronic disease that causes painful intestinal inflammation–back in September, he wrote an entire album inspired by her journey.
“You’re feeling like bad days are falling from the ceiling / The pain inside your mind never healing / Baby I’ll be right by your side,” James sings in the opening verse of his new single “Love Right Now,” which premieres today via American Songwriter.
“September / it changed our life / but it was for the better / we’re stronger now,” he continues in another verse. A crisp guitar solo comes in around the 2:00 mark, followed by a hushed, stripped-down bridge and a soulful outro that puts James’ smooth vocals and guitar chops back on display.
“‘Love Right Now’ is a reminder for anyone in the world to express love to those who mean the most in your life, and not waiting until the chance is gone,” James tells American Songwriter of the track, which will appear on his forthcoming album, Back Home. “So many times as humans we are too busy making plans we forget the most important thing which is love! To show love, to be loved.”
For James, this reckoning was directly spurred by his wife’s illness.
“During a time when my wife was very ill and at her lowest, I had a realization that I needed to make sure I showed the love I have for her while I was still able to,” he says.
Musically, “Love Right Now” is uplifting and affectionate by design.
“Although ‘Love Right Now’ has a serious message and can be heavy, I wanted the music to have an uplifting, feel-good vibe to encourage spreading love and joy because life is too short,” says James. “Drop what you’re doing, show love to your people because we won’t need any when we’re gone.”
“Love Right Now” is James’ first single of 2020. Black Home follows the singer-songwriter’s 2019 Midnight Dealin’ EP and 2018 self-titled EP, both of which draw on soul, funk, and blues while delivering groovy guitar and melodies.
Last year James also got a boost from his live audition for Season 17 of The Voice when John Legend gave the Austin artist some love: “You have great raw talent, and your voice is really lovely to listen to.” Unfortunately James didn’t make the cut, but The Voice still shared his audition to YouTube, where it’s racked up hundreds of thousands of views.
James wrote and performed all the songs on Back Home in his home studio, including the guitar, bass, and drum parts. The album also features contributions from Sean Giddings, Benjamin Alan Levy, and Charlie Kramsky, plus artwork from Catherine Davis. James hopes to raise awareness around Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis with Back Home, which arrives June 19.