Song Premiere: Brendan James, “Simplify”

brendan james
(Photo: Andrew Cebulka)

The night before Brendan James began recording his fourth album, he took his band to the movies. They saw “Sound City,” Dave Grohl’s documentary about the classic analog-only studio in Los Angeles. The doc left an impact on James, who decided to record his new album with a similar sort of simplicity in mind.

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The result is Simplify, a back-to-the-basics song cycle co-produced by James himself. Most of the vocal performances are complete takes, and the songs were recorded live in the studio. “Stop for a minute, wipe the progress from our eyes and stare at the setting sun that holds us here alive,” goes the chorus to the album’s title track, a piano-fueled pop/rocker that feels like a mission statement for the entire record.

“‘Simplify’ is about finding a collective calm, breathing deeply in it, making decisions based on contentment rather than greed,” James says. “I’ve never been so proud to share a record… this one tells the story of my entire heart. Its release on August 6th can’t come soon enough.”

Until then, stream the title track below.


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