The upcoming album from James & The Giants finds itself exploring the full breadth of James Toth’s songwriting. With curatorial help from producer Jarvis Taveniere, Toth plucked songs new and old and headed into the studio to recast them under a new light and a new name. Wooden Wand catalog classics, demos, and personal projects were all within the scope of Jarvis’ pool to pull from and with “Dead of Night” he reaches back further than most — back to the beginning of James’ songwriting tenure.
“Dead of Night” is the oldest song on the album and was originally written, in embryonic form, in 1996, when I was 17 years old,” notes James. “”My friend (and the album’s producer) Jarvis Taveniere somehow remembered the song from the old days and really wanted us to record it for this record. It deals with, in a word, “dealing:” dealing with it–whatever it is– and the various personal strategies people deploy to keep the doldrums and / or bummers at bay. A song of zero judgment, written during a period in which a lot of friends were beginning to struggle with addiction. The title was “borrowed” from the excellent English horror anthology of the same name.”
Fleshed out and fitted to the album’s lustrous drape, this version feels far from what might have been worked out in James’ youth. Atop synth stabs and hand percussion, Toth leans into the song’s dark undercurrent. It builds until a caustic wave of guitar crests in the latter half, pulling the listener down into the shadows. The new album is out June 30th from Kill Rock Stars Nashville.
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