Highways, Ghosts, Hearts & Home

by Susan James

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      $10 USD


  • Compact Disc (CD)

    Comes in a full color double sleeve eco wallet with 12 page booklet. Not only do you get all the artwork intended for the album, the CD is high quality WAV files, which sound very, very good indeed.
    ships out within 3 days

      $10 USD


  • T-Shirt/Apparel

    Every morning, you walk to your closet and what do you see? Just a bunch of giant question marks staring back at you. What shall I wear? What says 'I am that smart, free-thinking, good music loving, kind, humorous, beautiful individual that I know I am'? What comfortable clothing item will make me most happy today? What is clean and/or looks like it is? Where is the most perfect article of clothing I own?
    Well, YOU'VE JUST FOUND IT. The Susan James 'Highways, Ghosts, Hearts & Home' T-Shirt, illustrated by her very talented older brother - avid surfer, cartoonist and custom banjo maker extraordinaire, Jerry James.
    100% cotton, guaranteed to make you feel like a million bucks, but doesn't cost it.
    This T-Shirt will make you have a good time and make you want to say, 'Thanks for the musical memories, Susan'. It also make you feel, well, Awesome!
    ships out within 3 days

      $15 USD


  • Save a few dollars and buy the CD and T-Shirt together!
    ships out within 3 days

      $23 USD




On Highways, Ghosts, Hearts and Home,
James has mastered the neat trick of sounding traditional yet totally contemporary at the same time. James’ songwriting deftly twists old song forms with her own flair and infuses them with a modern intimacy.
Her latest disc finds her expanding her lyrical and musical reach through her psychedelic, country-folk lens.
From the yearning, 3/4 time of James' "Falling Waltz 2" and the countrified charm of "Thank You Tomorrow", to an almost Beatlesque "On Your Side" and the dreamy landscapes of "Out in the Woods", tune after tune reveals the unique qualities of James’ voice, her melodic skills, or her oft-admired knack for turning a phrase.
Fired by her genuinely independent spirit, James is equally adept at creating highly accessible music. Her lyrics address life, love, hope, colorful characters, ghost stories and good times from the viewpoint of a mature woman with a child in the modern world, facing bigger issues than just the angst of youth.
With the 11 original songs written, recorded and produced more as a “concept” than just the sum of all parts, Highways, Ghosts, Hearts and Home is one powerful, refreshing and sonically pleasing new release from an extremely talented musician.
Praise for Highways, Ghosts, Hearts & Home:

“…a singer/songwriter can make his or her rep on two things: excellent songwriting and an eye for small musical details. Fortunately for Susan James her fourth LP Highways, Ghosts, Hearts & Home has both…Even when James isn’t messing with the formula, she’s still a step above her contemporaries.”–Blurt Online

“Calling Mr. Zimmerman is a cry to Bob Dylan for divine inspiration:
‘Calling Mr. Zimmerman, please help me write this song, I always get it wrong.’ But it’s clear from just one listen of Highways that James knows what she’s doing.”–American Songwriter

“She writes like a consummate pro, has an engaging voice and uses it to virtual perfection. A few of these tracks could be hits and they aren’t even my favorites. Pick up on this. And if you don’t, remember the name. That’s Susan James. She’ll be back. I’m sure.”
–Rock and Reprise

“James sings about the supernatural, her voice going to surprising places, infusing her guitar-picking with unexpected vocal moves. Mysterious, left-field melodies add to the mystery of these strangely pleasing songs.”–The LA Weekly

BluesWax Rating: 9

Break On Through

The fourth album from Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Susan James feels like a breakthrough album, just as Linda Ronstadt‘s Heart Like a Wheel and Emmylou Harris‘ Elite Hotel did in the ’70s. It has the smell of a major studio production but not overbearingly so where it’s all gloss and glitter devoid of any substantial context.

James appears to be a seasoned writer, blessed with a beautiful, lilting voice. The Punch Brothers’ Gabe Witcher (fiddle); and, Shivaree’s Danny McGough (Hammond B3) as well as other fine musicians lend unfaltering support. The proceedings are immediately captivating with the opening track, “Airstream Girl,” that interweaves infectious guitar riffs. “Cold Moon on the Highway” is similarly catchy as James sings about the zombie gig from hell.

There’s good pacing of tempos, styles, and arrangements here. After the monumental impact of the electrified “Cold Moon on the Highway,” it quickly downshifts into the banjo-shaded, acoustic textures of “Old Jug Song” where James hauntingly laments a fallen musician known for old songs. Undoubtedly, “Out in the Woods” is the dreamiest track with beautiful vocals and a chord progression that becomes hypnotizing over the track’s near six-minute duration and various steel guitar and studio effects that make nature seem near. Though the jangly “Calling Mr. Zimmerman” deals with self-confidence struggles and an intercession (read: phone call) to Bob Dylan (aka Robert Allen Zimmerman) for divine inspiration, it seems that it’s really James that other writers should be dialing up.

Dan Willging is a contributing editor to BluesWax


released February 14, 2011

Produced by Susan James
All songs written by Susan James
2010 Dumplings Music (ASCAP)
Recorded at Nourse by Northwest, Los Angeles, by Shawn Nourse
Additional Recording at Fully’s Studio, Topanga, CA by Fulton Dingley
Mixed by Fulton Dingley
Additional Mixing by Ryan Ulyate
Mastered by Joe Gastwirt
Art Direction by Lynn Robb
Photography by Bridie MacDonald
Illustrations by Jerry James
Musicians: Susan James, Paul Lacques, Paul Marshall, Shawn Nourse, Gabe Witcher, Danny McGough



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