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Music

Americana's Stephie James Lives Life on the Edge in "Sin City" (premiere)

Photo: Shervin Lainez / Courtesy of Baby Robot Media

Nashville up-and-comer Stephie James navigates old-school roots-rock with her dusky soul on the new single, "Sin City".

While she's not yet a household name, Stephie James has often been one of the key navigators for several who are. Working with the likes of Buddy Miller, Steve Earle, and Shawn Colvin as an assistant engineer at Dan Auerbach's studio and touring with the likes of Anita Baker and Nikki Lane, the Nashville artist honed her sound while collaborating with greats. Her upcoming EP, These Days, was produced by Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff). It captures her stirring noir soul—a callback to the retro pop of Amy Winehouse and classic rock 'n' roll of Roy Orbison rolled into one. James' lead single, "Sin City", is exemplary of this essence. Dark and rootsy, the tune features James as a venerable frontwoman to what becomes a garage rock-fueled jam, offering plenty of room to sink into its dusky, hypnotic vibe.

"I was touring full time, and we were out West a lot," says James. "I started spending time with a guy I met out there. He was dabbling in some shady dealings. At the time, it was all pretty intriguing to me -- we all like bad boys, right? He had this duality about him, with characteristics of his con-artist father and his nurturing mother -- both completely different. I knew the relationship would never last, but I think a little part of me held onto that cliche that maybe I could change him; eventually, I realized that I probably wouldn't like him if he did change. And in the end, I didn't really want him to lose the edge that I was attracted to; it is what it is."

These Days releases on 10 July.

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