Style: Eclectic, soulful pop/rock; compare to Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Wilco

Top tracks: "Soapbox," "Stay Humble," "All I Got," "A Sailor's Tune"

Tyler James says his life was changed when he found a Dylan tape in his sister's pick-up truck as a boy. With his debut CD, the influence of great songwriters—Dylan, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne—is clear, with a soulful album that at times hearkens each. Nice arrangements and smart lyrics, including these from the title track: "It took the fire to save my soul / It took the fire to change me / Glory shown in the ashes blowin' away." And these (from "Sweet Relief"): "Oh trouble, be gentle when you bring me pain / Oh trouble, come soft like the morning rain / But don't stop when I tell you / Turn your ear when I beg for you to leave / 'Til you've taught me / And I've learned from thee." James says his songs are "about the struggle to find my own truth." Sounds pretty close to finding the Truth.

It Took the Fire
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Release Date
March 2, 2010
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