Few times in life do you hear a song that immediately hits you. Words that seem to be written by the immediate emotion, time, or state of being you are currently in are rare. It is like someone is in your head and knows how you feel. Words that match the emotion, and a voice that just seems to deliver the message directly to your soul. Lyrics like Brandi Carlile’s ‘All of these lines across my face, tell you the story of who I am’ in “The Story,” or classic storyteller songwriters such as Loretta Lynn, James Taylor, and Tom Petty. These artists not only deliver through their instruments but through lyrics that haunt you. Listening to The Rails perform at the State Theater was one of those times, a time where I actually felt blessed to witness and feel the music which was being performed in front of me.
Opening for The Pretenders, the husband and wife team of James Walbourne and Kami Thompson performed in support of their current album, Other People. Kami and James (The Rails) each walked out on stage holding an acoustic guitar. A simple “Hello” to the audience, a couple strums on the guitar, and they were off.
They had excellent harmony in their song, “I wish, I wish,” then followed with “Other People,” which seems to reflect the current times. The simple words of “There are other people in the world, not just you” spoke volumes. In the song “Dark Times” were the words that seemed to take over: “Dark times are like an old friend, well hello again” reminded me of so many who are struggling with regret, depression, and reflection. Each song told separate stories of struggle, love, joy, and addiction while being delivered with purity.
Seeing The Rails for the first time was a rare experience for me. Not often do I immediately listen to someone’s entire album after a show; trying to analyze the music and the lyrics. They are a band that you can’t really describe or associate their music with a specific genre. Are they folk, rock, county? I don’t know? I do know that they have many new fans in Minneapolis!
James Walbourne The Rails and Lead Guitarist of The Pretenders