Forgive the cliché, but Susan James really could be a contender for the Best Artist No One (well, few) Has Ever Heard Of award. The Californian singer-songwriter has been active for two decades, during which she’s toured with – and converted – all sorts, including Bob Weir and Lindsey Buckingham.
High Llamas front man Sean O’Hagan has been another admirer for years, and the pair finally collaborated on Sea Glass, Susan’s sixth and best album to date. O’Hagan adds his trademark lush instrumental arrangements to several tracks on this wonderful record, opening with the richly-textured ‘Poseidon’s Daughter’, which bears favourable comparisons to the country-folk, baroque-pop of Judee Sill.
Vocally, Susan James may not possess the “fruitiness” of the late Sill, but she has a fine multi-octave voice nonetheless and her compositional talents evoke a similar sense of timelessness and depth.