This Wheel Keeps on Turning
Journey man James Apollo has spent a life in perpetual motion following his highway in search of, money, shelter and a seeming necessary need to seek out inspiration and experience. This may sound like a classical romantic American folk tale, but "Till Your Feet Bleed" is awash with landscapes and diverse cultural beauty that acts as a glimmering backdrop, as Apollo takes us state by state.
'Oil on a Trashcan Fire' is a Cajun inspired instrumental that sets the rest of the album in motion and links nicely in the sparse atmospheric darkness of 'For Now' which evokes dusty vistas and Ennio Morricone Western snapshots. 'The bittersweet Happiness' follows next with its Tom Waits vocal and galloping stomp. "The shining face in the long white dress" is an indication that Apollo may have loved and lost but you get the feeling he's not in one place long enough to really dwell on the matter. The excellent 'How Hard' finds Apollo crooning circa 1950's "she found a gold heart in me" but his self realisation "loving me never did anyone well" tells an insightful story and by "I'm free to wonder" we again see a pattern of broken hearts and his undeniable necessity to roam.
"Till Your Feet Bleed" is cinematic and warm with Apollo switching from gritty vocals as on 'Pray for Rain' with his vocals as dry as any of his dust filled lyrics to the comforting and wholesome 'No East No West' that references Calexico inspired Mariachi brass and ramshackle percussion.
James Apollo is one of many musicians currently following their muse through the lofty canons of a nomadic existence. This dusty Americana is pretty commonplace in 2010 and it's going to take an album of exceptional originality and creativity to gain a lead on an increasingly similar pack, however at just over 33 minutes we get short glimpse into beauty and bittersweet emotion of a life devoid of roots. This may be a journey you want to take again.