Being familiar with Jamie N Commons’ fellow label mates X-Ambassadors for their 2014 hit “Jungle” — which, I found out only recently, features Commons, and has been played in my car an embarrassing amount of times — I had high hopes for his self-titled EP.
Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed — Commons’ raspy vocals combined with his blues-infused rock made for a 4-track experience that didn’t feel passive, to say the least. What Jamie N Commons does especially right is avoid a mistake, in my opinion, that often happens when artists make an EP — he makes sure each song is able to stand on its own.
Commons showcases his songwriting skills, changes up tempos and moods, and provides a real musical journey. Each track demonstrates not only Commons’ strengths as a bluesy rocker with a generous heap of soul, but each song is also an emotional transformation.
Jamie N Commons, Track by Track
I really enjoyed “Low Life” and the fact that Commons decided to put an acoustic track on the EP, which was able to truly showcase his incredibly rich, deep, and soulful voice, adding additional depth to the song. It’s almost difficult to believe that a voice like that could come from a 27-year old. The song, co-written with the X Ambassadors, is nice when it’s slowed down and takes on folk-y bluegrass-y feel. It’s a sad, beautiful song, that’s refreshingly different from the rest of the EP.
“Not Gonna Break Me” is a rock anthem that’s a complete 180 from “Low Life.” As Commons belts “Not gonna break me,” the song itself really reminded me of his collaborative hit “Jungle.” Although arguably the most commercial song on the EP, it is not my favorite — the longest song on the album, it starts to drag a little bit and gets a little a repetitive.
Jamie N Commons amps up the tempo dramatically on “Let’s Do It Till We Get It Right,” resulting a universally catchy beat (the song has been featured in commercials for Stella Artois). It is difficult to listen to without wanting to jam out. Commons doesn’t hold back and lets the blues go into full swing. My favorite track, hands down.
“Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way” rocks hard, with its heavy percussion and guitar. Commons lets loose, giving it a unique playful touch by experimenting with his voice and taking risks with the confidence of an established rocker. This is really solid track that I think will appeal to all fans of rock.
Jamie N Commons seems true to himself and really encapsulates an artist with a passion for a hybrid of bluegrass, rock, alternative, and gospel. Jamie N Commons is worth a listen, even many listens. It is widely available now, and “Low Life” can be downloaded for free by fans who sign up for Commons’ mailing list.