A few weeks ago, James Houlahan released his new LP The Wheel Still In Spin. You can check it via the usual streaming services or hit the link to Bandcamp below to stream and if you dig it, buy a digital copy. Here’s the closing track from the album, ‘California’, a lonesome and wistful song about leaving places and people, hauntingly framed with some beautiful harmonica playing. Across the album there are hints of influences from Tom Waits, Nebraska Springsteen and contemporary artists like John Moreland.
A native of Concord, Mass., Houlahan’s story is a typically American tale of dream-seeking. He started playing piano at 8 years old, switching to guitar in his teens. He sharpened his craft in the basement for years before he felt comfortable performing, and it wasn’t until his 20s that he began playing his music in front of crowds. While living in Boston in the mid aughts, he played lead guitar in a few rock bands, but eventually knew he couldn’t let his solo work go unheard. “I realized that if I didn’t sing my songs nobody else would,” Houlahan says. He released his first solo effort Misfit Hymns in 2012 before relocating to Los Angeles and releasing Multitudes in 2016.