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Matt James – Chainsmoking Whiskey

Matt James is best known for the strong vocals that front the band Blacktop Mojo. Now Blacktop Mojo is a house favorite and one of our spotlight bands. If you’ve listened to their music even a little bit, you’ll understand why. Their music is a blues grunge hard rock mix that crosses over several genres along the way. Definitely on the harder side, however.

Matt James - Blacktop Mojo
Matt James – Blacktop Mojo

But James and the band have so much more to offer that it seems they need a solo effort to keep up with their creativity.

Enter “Chainsmoking Whiskey” – an EP that is up to 4 songs so far on itunes, spotify and just about anywhere you find great music. The difference here, as James explains it, is the style of music each effort represents.

“The solo stuff exists more in the country space, while Blacktop Mojo is more of a rock band”, James explained.

While Blacktop Mojo has had this style of music in older releases, their trend over the growth band certainly focused on the harder style of music. With their latest effort due out early next year entitled “Pollen”, (4/5/24 scheduled release) the band used this as a way to mix it up and fill in the gaps with other music and creative avenues.

“While we aren’t touring with BTM (Blacktop Mojo), it’s nice to fill in the gaps at home with something else”, James said. “It’s cool to be able to create different styles of music.”

The 4 songs currently available include the title cut Chainsmoking Whiskey along with Way Too Strong, Wait it Out and the gem of them all so far in Runaway. All certainly carry a melodic feel with some country roots shining through.

All of the songs released so far have a haunting feel to them. The raw emotions shine through in music, lyrics and of course, James’s vocals. Rewind is a button you’ll be hitting often. The one that does kick it up “a little” would be Runaway. While it starts off with the same emotional overtones as the rest, the chorus changes the pace enough to make this one stand out.

Although billed as a solo effort, the entire band except for drummer Nathan Gillis, is involved. Taking over drum duties is BTM guitarist Ryan Kiefer’s brother in-law Brad Duke. Gillis is keeping his schedule full taking on management duties with other artists as well as James and company.  You can find Gillis’ management efforts on faceook here – Cuhmon Music group.

With 8 songs in the works and 4 released, that means starting next year we should see the rest filter out as we work out way to the release of the new Blacktop Mojo effort “Pollen”.

“Not sure when the next one will drop, but gonna get on that after the holidays!” James laughed as we wrapped up our conversation.

Whatever style of music the bands chooses to produce, it’s some of the best music going today.

You can find Matt James on facebook and he is on the road as well in support of the solo songs. Check out his travels and hit a show.


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