Morgan James

May 4, 2023 · Doors open at 19:00

Morgan James

Let’s start with the voice, an instrument through which she can communicate anything. A gift bestowed upon her that she has expertly trained, meticulously nurtured, and passionately galvanized into action by an urgency to make real music. Next, the stories, and she has them in spades. They are full of truth and beauty, heartache and thoughtfulness. They reveal colors we weren’t expecting to see. They make us close our eyes and relate. And finally, the soul – the emotional and intellectual energy through which these parts are fueled. That special something that prompted The Wall Street Journal to herald her as “the most promising young vocalist to come along so far this century.” That young vocalist is Morgan James. And Morgan James is a soul singer.

Morgan’s latest full album “Memphis Magnetic” is the culmination of a life-long love affair with music. The album was recorded live to analog tape in Memphis Tennessee, and is an original soul album packed with emotion and real musival ingredients. She grew up listening to everyone from Joni Mitchell to Paul Simon to Prince to Aretha Franklin, cultivating an insatiable love for strong songwriters. After graduating from The Juilliard School with a classical music degree, and performing in the original companies of five Broadway productions, James began writing and recording her own music. Meeting her mentor Berry Gordy, Jr. led to a record deal at Epic Records, where she recorded and released her solo album Hunter in 2014. In addition to her three studio albums, James recorded and released a full album cover of Joni Mitchell’s seminal “Blue” as well as The Beatles’ “White Album” in 2018 to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Through her unique and varied career, there have been many ups and downs, but James cites her failures as more important than her successes in shaping the artist she is today.

After her tenure with Epic Records, she took charge of her career from the business and musical side. She cultivated a new world of fans with her viral YouTube videos, and while connecting with them on social media and at her live shows, she found the support and strength to go out on her own as an independent artist. With viral sensation postmodern jukebox, and her own channel, Morgan has amassed more than 250 million views on YouTube, (and climbing). Over the last several years, James has built her own empire and established herself as a touring powerhouse, allowing her to raise the funds to create her albums and make every decision from the ground up.

Kirk Thurmond

Growing up in Dallas, Kirk was always surrounded by music. The 3-part harmony lessons from his father, coupled with the household soundtrack of soul giants, it seems he always knew what he would be doing with his life. “I can’t really remember a time when I wanted to be anything else. For a while there, it was the thing in my life that made the most sense.” Kirk gave an all or nothing push to start his career after stepping away from a percussion performance degree at age 19. Kirk used a series of coffee shops, bars, and college cafeterias to hone his writing into what it is now; his debut projects Born In The City and Only Love marked the beginning of his continuous pursuit for music that is real and timeless.

In 2014 Kirk formed a full band, Kirk Thurmond & The Millennials. The band’s music furthers this pursuit on a deeper level. KTAM’s sound is a well honed backbone of rock solid groove that has put them in front of world-renowned acts like Lee Fields, Rufus Wainwright, Marc Broussard, and Lauryn Hill.

People Change is the latest album from KTAM. Kirk looks to blur the lines between artist and activist with this upcoming release. “I don’t want to be afraid to make music and make change at the same time. I’ve become all too aware that saying nothing is saying something. No matter how high the times may get, the ground below you never moves. When you find yourself with your feet back on the ground, we’ll meet you there with the truth every time.”

Thurmond makes a conscious effort to point directly at “some major frustrations” that he has with people, but at its core, People Change is an album unity. “It’s a feel-good album about understanding yourself, and how it directly relates to knowing others.” Songs like the mysteriously groovy “All In A Vision” and the two movement title track “People Change”, hold true to the tradition of Soul/R&B by utilizing captivating rhythm and convicting lyrics, without contradiction.

“None of this is about re-inventing the wheel. If anything I want to restore a timeless quality to R&B/Pop music that made the music of my youth so meaningful.” Kirk’s efforts towards timeless music show through the traces of Bill Withers, Bonnie Rait, Stevie Wonder, and Earth Wind & Fire instantly recognizable from track to track. There’s even a tribute to the late Rod Temperton, a songwriter that shaped Kirk’s musical pallet from an early age. Kirk Thurmond is set to release new music in 2023.


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