“In my mind, each of the songs is a tiny boat I constructed, which I now hope to launch across a glassy pond, or -more like it- a turbulent sea," said multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, session player and performer James DiGirolamo in a recent press release about his new EP titled "Paper Boats."
Growing up in the Philadelphia area, he like so many others became involved in the Philly and surrounding area music scenes but James thought he would take a different approach with his writing talents and as he discovered; things don't always work out as planned.
"I wouldn't recommend my career path to anybody; it has been pretty much all over the place. I guess some of that just goes with the territory but when I was younger and just coming out of college I really thought I was going to write film scores and concentrate on stuff for TV and motion pictures. I moved up to New York, probably very overconfident; I got a few pieces on TV and I did a bunch of stuff. It was all work made for hire and it didn't take off the way that I thought it was going to and at the time I don't think I realized what it was really going to take to do that. New York City is a tough place to struggle so, I moved back to Nashville and just kind of started to get in local bands. I never really set out to do that so it came as a bit of a surprise to me that I was being asked to join bands and at some point in there, I think that my early exposure to the great singer-songwriters of the 1970's that my dad was constantly playing; I think that all sort of started to seep out and I very tentatively started to try my hand at songwriting."
The question which then comes to mind is; how does one transition from writing for film and television into a songwriter, a session player, a live performer when called upon and how does he pen his catalog of songs?
"I was a piano major in college and have since taught myself enough guitar and bass and drums to; I don't think I'm ever going to get a gig as a drummer but maybe eventually as a bass player and the guitar is probably second after the piano. I'm comfortable enough on rhythm guitar basics where I could conceivably add that to my list of side-man skills at this point," he started with a laugh. "Once again, I didn't start out to become a songwriter or a performer and those are interesting and very good questions. I think what tends to happen now, because I've been writing songs for a long time and it has only been in my last couple of projects that I have been getting any kind of real confidence in what I'm doing. I mention that to say that over this long period of time, I've been through the process of just writing a song going all the way through; whether it's the greatest thing I've ever written or whether I feel particularly good about it or not; let's call that the exercise of writing. My current way of doing it is still a little mysterious but I'll encapsulate it this way; I typically sit down with the guitar or at the piano and play a few chords or notes and sometimes something I play will strike my imagination or a melody will suggest words of a certain number of syllables or a certain phrase and certain things just tumble out. You have probably heard people say that they, "Write from the sub-conscious" a lot, I really think that's the one sentence way of stating my process, I write from the sub-conscious. I sit down and some days it feels like I've been struck by lightning and I have an idea and it almost feels like I'm just channeling it and I'm doing very little work; those are the best times. There are exceptions to that too, there are times when I have some part of it or an inkling that there is something there and if I dig a little more I'll find it; it can be done where I get the germ of an idea quickly and then spend quite a long time tinkering until I find just the right words or phrases or just revising it enough times until I really feel satisfied but most of the time it happens fast and it's a delight when that happens."
"Paper Boats" is a song or two shy of a full-length record and when asked as to why he stopped short of going for the gusto of a full-length; he responded quickly and confidently.
"It's six songs and that's a great question," he said with a laugh. "I had this material and some of it was kind of "Hot off the press" so to speak and a few of them I had started recording just before the pandemic, some of them I was kind of working on and tinkering with over a long period of time and I was trying to decide what to do with it all. There is quite a bit of diversity between the six of them and for some reason I was starting to feel like they were a document of a moment for me personally and I kind of like the way that they all relate to one another and I think that's why I landed on the six of those. I think I could've waited to expand it but I've moved on and written a whole bunch of other stuff since then and I'm going to try and do it a different way; I'm going to try and record in a more cohesive way. There are a couple of exceptions to this but on a lot of this stuff I played all or most of the instruments and that can take a really long time; you save money but you pay for it in effort and time. So, I think that is why I didn't try and expand it into a full length record."
"I recorded it here," he continued, "I live just north of Nashville in a suburb called Hendersonville. The majority of it was recorded just by me at home. There are two tracks where I went into Joe Pisapia's private studio, he is a great producer, guitar player and multi-instrumentalist and songwriter himself; he was kd lang's music director for a while and he was in Guster. Joe is from New Jersey originally but I can't remember what part; he had a band called Joe Mark's Brother and it was he and his brother Mark and a guy named "Hags" Haggerty and they all moved down here to Nashville like 25 years ago and never looked back and they're all doing really well. So, we recorded "Girl WhoHas Everything" and "Top Of The World" on the same day at Joe's place with just me, Joe and a guy named Lex Price who was co-producing the tracks with me; Lex is a great producer and bass player himself who has also worked with kd lang, Shemeika Copeland, Rodney Crowell, Lee Ann Womack and Neko Case and he is also responsible for hiring me for other things as well."
James plans on doing whatever he can to promote the new release but he will do so with caution and claims that return to the stage as a solo act will be well thought out.
"Hopefully I'm going to hit the road. I'm not sure on what scale and I mean that right now but the plan is to start doing some shows. I have been very cautious about re-entering the world so to speak; I've got some irons in the fire on that right now so stay tuned because hopefully there will be some shows announced soon. It feels exciting, like I can't wait to do it because I've taken an extremely long hiatus of playing shows of my own; I'm talking like 15 years since I've even gone out to a writer's night. I've played with lots of other people in the meanwhile, so, it's exciting."
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
This week's event listings
Bill's Olde Tavern 2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton (609) 586-0192 Thurs. 7 p.m. "Ladies Night" Tues./Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ "Super" Dave Curtis Ages 21+ Broken Goblet Brewing 2500 State Road Bensalem, PA (267) 812-5653 Thurs. 7 p.m. Mike Estabrook Sat. 8:30 p.m. "First Saturdays" w/ Bridge Beat Duo Wed. 8 p.m. Open Mic w/ Cara Cartney All Shows 21+Candlelight Lounge 24 Passaic Street Trenton (609) 695-9612 Thurs. 6 p.m. Thursday Night Blues Jam Hosted by The Mojo Gypsies. $5 (Includes hot buffet) Championship Bar 931 Chambers street Trenton (609) 396-5457 Tuesday 8 p.m. "Jam Night" Hosted by Nikki & Caleb Ages 21+COARadio.com 125 South Main Street Hightstown (609) 241-7103 Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Laura Cheadle, Alex Radus of Hot4RobotCooper's Riverview 50 Riverview Plaza Trenton (609) 393-7300 Thurs. (8 p.m.) Ear Candy (9 p.m.) Club Night feat. Rotating DJs (inside event) Fri. (5 p.m.) "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Happy Hour" 8 p.m.) GruvTyme Sat. 8 p.m. 80s Undercover Sun. 11 a.m. " Sunday Latin Jazz Brunch" w/ Victor Tarassov Mon. 7 p.m. "Sunny Monday Blues Jam" Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ Karen and Mark Wed. (12 p.m.) "Wine Down Wednesdays" (7 p.m.) Waiting On Chris All Events Ages 21+Dacey's Pub 215 West Philadelphia Avenue Morrisville, PA (215) 295-4838 Fri. 6 p.m. Acoustic Music Night Wed. 8 p.m. Quizzo Dadz Bar and Grill 744 Main Street Lumberton (609)267-4344 Fri. 6 p.m. The Bilco BandDempster's Pub 437 Pine Street Mount Holly (609) 261-0500 Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday/Ladies Night" w/ DJ entertainment feat. retro 70's, 80's and 90's music. Fri. / Sat. 9 p.m. DJ entertainmentEddington House Bensalem 2813 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, PA (215) 639-1220 Fri. 8 p.m. Rob GrodenEscape Resort, Restaurant & Bar 120 Pheasant Run Road Newtown, PA (215) 968-0600 Fri. 6 p.m. Ryan Schubert (Acoustic)German American Society 215 Uncle Pete's Road Hamilton (609) 585-5200 Fri. 7 p.m. "Rainbow Full of Sound" Retracing Europe '72 (Grateful Dead Tribute)Gleason's Bar 6700 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA (215) 943-4781 Thurs. 7 p.m. Weekly Corn Hole Tournament Fri. 6 p.m. "Happy Hour" Sat. 8 p.m. Karaoke Wed. 5:30 p.m. Family Fun Night w/ "Gina the Balloon Girl" Greenhouse 90 South Main Street New Hope, PA (215) 693-1657 Thurs. 8 p.m. "Musicians Night Out" Hosted by Lovelight Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic Hosted by Sam Ryan Wed. 8 p.m. Trivia Hosted by Dwayne DunlevyGrounds For Sculpture 80 Sculptors way Hamilton (609) 586-0616 Sat. 10 a.m. "Member Mornings" Sun. 1 p.m. "Family Meditation"Havana New Hope 105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA. (215) 862-9897 Thurs. 7 p.m. Funk n' Blues Jam Mon. 9 p.m. "Lipstick Mondays Drag Show" Hamilton Veterans Park 1865 Yardville-Hamilton Square Road Hamilton Fri. "Independence Day Concert & Fireworks" (6 p.m.) The Heartbeats (9:30 p.m.) Fireworks (FREE event, rain date July 3)Hopewell Valley Vineyards 46 Yard Avenue Pennington (609) 737-4465 Fri. 4 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. (5:30 p.m.) A Little Bit Off Sat. (1 p.m.) The Mac Paige Band (5:30 p.m.) "Music & Merlot" feat. Brian Erickson Sun. 1:30 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Bobby DavisIron Plow Vineyards 26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus (732) 306-9111 Fri. 6:30 p.m. John Rossi Sat. 6:30 p.m. Ryan ZimmermanIvy Tavern 3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton (609) 888-1435 Thurs. 9:30 p.m. "Thursday Night Dance Party" Fri. 8 p.m. Cover Up All shows 21+ John & Peter's 96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa (215) 862-5981 Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational All shows 21+ Killarney's Publick House 1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton (609) 586-1166 Thurs. 5 p.m. "Girls Night Out" w/ Radio Fiction Laurita Winery 85 Archertown Road New Egypt (609) 752-0200 Thurs. 7 p.m. "Laurita Idol 2021" (Tryout) (Open to adults 18+, $15 registration fee to tryout) Fri. (12 p.m.) "Wine In The Grove Friday" (7 p.m.) BBQ Night Sat. "Red, White & Blue Food Truck Festival" feat. (11 a.m.) The Successful Failures (2:45 p.m.) The Surge (6:15 p.m.) Nikki Briar & The Sweet Briar Trio. $12. (Fireworks night) Sun. "Red, White & Blue Food Truck Festival" feat. (11 a.m.) 80's Undercover (3:15 p.m.) Shore Bet. $12 Makefield Highlands Golf Club 1418 Woodside Road Yardley, PA (215) 321-7000 Fri. 5 p.m. Tim FitzpatrickMcGuinn's Place 1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence (609) 392-0599 Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke Ages 21+ McStews Irish Sports Pub 5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA (215) 949-9570 Tues. 7:30 p.m. Trivia NightMercer County Park Festival Grounds Hughes Drive/Old Trenton Road West Windsor (609) 448-1947 Thurs. 5 p.m. "Mercer County L.E.A.D. Fest" feat. (6:30 p.m.) Lovelight w/ Mark Diomede. $5 Fri. 5 p.m. "Mercer County L.E.A.D. Fest" feat. (6:30 p.m.) Tequila Rose Sat. 1 p.m. "Mercer County L.E.A.D. Fest" feat. (6:30 p.m.) Rock Of Ages (Fireworks night) Sun. 1 p.m. "Mercer County L.E.A.D. Fest" feat. (6:30 p.m.) Kindred Spirit (Fireworks Night) Mon. 1 p.m. "Mercer County L.E.A.D. Fest" feat. (6:30 p.m.) Paul Plumeri Blues Band Tues. 5 p.m. "Mercer County L.E.A.D. Fest" feat. (6:30 p.m.) Cosmic Jerry Band Wed. 5 p.m. "Mercer County L.E.A.D. Fest" feat. (6:30 p.m.) El Ka Bong Millhill Basement 300 S. Broad Street Trenton (609) 989-1600 Fri. 6 p.m. "First Friday Summer In Da City" Art Show. Curated by Uncle Elroy, live music, free food (FREE admission) Music Mountain Theater 1483 Route 179 Lambertville (609)397-3337 Fri. 8 p.m. "Murder At Cheltenham Manor" Sat./Sun. 3 p.m. "Murder At Cheltenham Manor"New Egypt Flea Market Village 933 Monmouth County Road Cream Ridge (609) 758-2082 Sun. 8 a.m. Heroes Day / July Scavenger Hunt Hosted by The Whatever Shop-2WNew Hope Winery 6123 Lower York Road New Hope, PA (215) 794-2331 Sat. 5 p.m. Rebekah LeighNewtown Brewing Company 103 Penns Trail Newtown, PA (215) 944-8609 Thurs. 7:30 p.m. Trivia Night Fri. 7 p.m. Bob & Dave Sat. 7 p.m. Christopher HyndNick's Roast Beef 4501 Woodhaven Road West Philadelphia, PA (215) 637-5151 Fri. 6 p.m. Irish Joe Band Sat. 6 p.m. AJ Slick BandO'Fowley's Tavern & Grill 200 State Road Croydon, PA (215) 785-6998 Fri. 8 p.m. DJ EntertainmentOld Hights Brewing 123 West Ward Street Hightstown (609) 469-5976 Thurs. 7 p.m. Trivia Fri. 5 p.m. Chet & AriOlde Liberty Tavern 2114 Liberty Street Trenton (609) 396-2262 Fri. 8:30 p.m. Asylum ChoirOld Town Pub 135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown (609) 291-9232 Thurs. 7 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia Sat. 12 p.m. "Revolutionary Pub Crawl" Tues. 7 p.m. "Dinner Is A Drag"Palmer Square 40 Nassau Street Princeton Thurs. 4 p.m. "Locals Night" w/ Live "Strolling" Musician Sat. 12 p.m. The OutcropsPasquale's Sports Bar 9078 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA (267) 202-6268 Fri. 5 p.m. Happy Hour feat. (TBA) Sat. 8 p.m. DJ or Live Band Entertainment Finster Tues. 7:30 p.m. Quizzo Wed. 7 p.m. Open MicPatriots Crossing 1339 River Road Titusville (609) 737-2780 Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo" Pete's Steak House 523 Whitehorse Avenue Hamilton (609) 585-8008 Fri. 9:30 p.m. Mario & Frank w/ Gary Bernabe "An Acoustic Clapton Show" Revere Restaurant 802 River Road Ewing (609) 882-6365 Fri. 6 p.m. Keep The Change Band (Acoustic) Wed. 7 p.m. David BoydRobbinsville Community Concert Town Center Lake Drive Gazebo, Robbinsville Tues. 7 p.m. The SuspectsRomeo's Restaurant & Pizza 10 Schalks Crossing Road Plainsboro (609) 799-4554 Fri. 7 p.m. The Blue-Eyed Balladeer Rosedale Mills 101 Route 31 North Pennington (609) 737-2008 Sat. 1 p.m. Outdoor Line Dancing. $10 (Rain date Sundays 12 p.m.)Sandy's Beef & Ale 2028 E. Old Lincoln Highway Langhorne, PA (2670 852-2333 Thurs. 8 p.m. QuizzoSherman Theater/Penn Community Bank Amphitheater 2400 Byberry Road Bensalem, PA Wed. 7 p.m. Steely Dan Tribute w/ "Countdown To Ecstacy" (Doors open at 5:30 p.m., tickets available online)Tankard Pub 440 Keim Boulevard Burlington (609) 306-5079 Thurs. 7 p.m. The WilliamsboyTara's Tavern 1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown (609) 286-2300 Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke w/ Big Daddy G Sat. 9 p.m. Ryan McGuireTavern On The Lake 101 Main Street Hightstown (609) 426-9345 Fri. 9 p.m. Springwood Wed. 9 p.m. KaraokeTemperance House 5 South State Street Newtown, PA (215) 944-8050 Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia w/ Righteous Jolly Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Cara CartneyTerhune Orchards 330 Cold Soil Road Princeton (609) 924-2310 Fri. 4 p.m. "Sips & Sounds Friday" feat. Jerry SteeleThe Buck Hotel 1200 Buck Road Feasterville, PA (215) 396-2002 Thurs. 7 p.m. Kevin Kirko Fri. 7 p.m. Love Junk Sat. 9 p.m. ShamelessThe Cool Cricket 216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro (609) 291-9110 Fri. 9 p.m. Karaoke The Dubliner 34 North Main Street New Hope, PA (215) 693-1816 Sat. 7 p.m. Seamus KelleherThe Sticky Wicket 2465 South Broad Street Hamilton (609) 439-0007 Sat. 8 p.m. "In My House Saturdays" $20The Sycamore Grill 255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA (215) 908-6326 Fri. 8:30 p.m. Kickbax Acoustic TrioTrenton Buzz 702 Pine Street Trenton (609) 392-6000 Sat. 10 p.m. "Buzzed Saturdays"Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location) 400 Union Square New Hope, Pa. (215) 862-8300 Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage All shows 21+ Working Dog Winery 610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown (609) 371-6000 Sat. 1 p.m. Spoondrift Sun. 2 p.m. Fabulous Benson BoysWWFM 89.1 FM HD2 Radio MCCC Old Trenton Road West Windsor Jazzon2.org Mon. 7 p.m. "Danny Coleman's Got The Blues"
Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.