James Bay Essentials

James Bay Essentials

James Bay's songs are all about reserve and release. There's the anguish of quiet despair, as evidenced in the whispery folk verses of his 2014 breakthrough hit “Hold Back the River,” and the catharsis of releasing bottled-up feelings in a full-throated scream, like he does on “Let It Go.” Very much the traveling soul man (in his trademark wide-brimmed hat), he writes intimate rock songs steeped in gospel sincerity, coming from a similarly raw space as hard-gigging peers like Ed Sheeran. His knack is for making new shapes out of timeless emotions and impeccably vintage musical ideas.

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