Early James goes for the grit on “Harder to Blame”


A full-bore Southern stomp, “Harder to Blame,” the new song from Alabama native Early James, is a powerhouse. Fronted by a storm of sharp guitar lines and thick, pounding drumbeats – not to mention James’ vocals, all grit and gravel, steam and sweat – the song grabs you by the shirt collar, shakes you down, and doesn’t let up. 

“Harder to Blame” is a lead single from James’ upcoming album Strange Time to Be Alive, due out Aug. 19 on Easy Eye Sound, the label founded by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Auerbach produced the album, as well as James’ 2020 album Singing for My Supper.

“Harder to Blame,” though, takes James’ sound and pushes it further. It’s rooted in tradition, but it’s brand new. It stomps and sweats and smells of the earth, but it’s beautiful.

“Jay Bellerose was smashing the drums so hard that the engineer wanted to turn it down, but I thought we should just leave it and let it go,” says Auerbach. “There’s a lot of terror in that song, and the way James sings it puts sharp edges all over the place.”


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