“Their sweet acoustic melodies make you think of open fields and swinging hammocks.”
Austin duo Beth // James' debut EP, All In Life, is the product of two award winning musicians, Mikaela Beth Kahn and Jordan James Burchill. Their original songs and razor sharp musicianship pick up where the Civil Wars left off. Tackling love, their adopted hometown of Austin, and more, All in Life is simultaneously unexpected and familiar, infused with "a shimmering mix of modern folk, mindful pop, and Americana charm. The EP taps into the soul of a rhythmic back and forth between two distinct voices blending into one," according to Paste Magazine.
The duo began writing together in 2015, though they met in 2008 while studying jazz at the University of North Texas. Through the years they’ve played in various bands together, but this EP takes their musical chemistry to the next level as they create their own unique sound. Beth // James navigates effortlessly among American music traditions, rooted in storytelling, but with added indie pop/rock elements, intricate guitar work and arresting harmony.
The EP was named one of "5 Standout EP's" of 2017 by the Austin-American Statesman, the national blog, POPDOSE, named them as "top new artists of 2017," prominent Texas blog, The Ghost of Blind Lemon awarded them two Ghosty Awards for Best Texas Song ("Bring Your Fire to Me") and Best Texas EP, and the duo was voted "Best New Austin Band" runner-ups in the acclaimed 2017 Austin Music Awards.
Album standout "Lion Eyes" is a dark ballad spun from moody tumbleweed electric guitar and iridescent organ, setting the stage for Kahn and Burchill to take everything up a notch with their emphatic, impassioned vocal performance. The duo drives it home with a raise-your-bourbon-to-the-sky chorus, lambasting "her lion eyes", a rally cry against anyone who's careless with other peoples' hearts. You can hear "Lion Eyes" in Spike Lee's newest feature film 'BlacKkKlansman' (produced by Jordan Peele of Academy-Award® winning Get Out). In theaters worldwide August 10th, 2018.
Beth // James comes from two halves of one whole. The band name takes a piece of each middle name to create one entity. The collaboration doesn’t stop there. All In Life devotes an equal amount of effort to both melody and lyrics as Burchill and Kahn share the workload. Both come from diverse musical backgrounds and this influence can be heard throughout. Burchill had performed in more synth heavy bands and Kahn sang in R&B projects.
Songs such as “I Wanna Be In Love” capture a more freeform jazz structure, while the upbeat “Jewels” creates a bright, sparkling splash, splitting the difference between Paul Simon and Nickel Creek.
Another highlight, "I Miss The Music In Austin" is an easy-going tune written outside of a deli in Portland, OR while on tour. Breaking out banjo and some classic vocal harmony, Kahn and Burchill evoke sunny skies and good times, “Patio lights and a lone star band / Simple songs with new friends / I miss the music in Austin.” It's an anthem for lovers of the Austin sound and the creative community that makes it so special.
All In Life establishes Beth // James as an exciting new voice, pushing the boundaries of indie folk with an offering of six original songs that invariably tug listeners’ heartstrings.
About Beth // James
Beth // James is the musical duo of Jordan James Burchill and Mikaela Beth Kahn. Burchill has played guitar for Ndambi and Avant, and Brannen Temple (The Dixie Chicks, Janet Jackson). Kahn has toured as a vocalist with Ben Folds and Chrisette Michele. They were finalists in NewSong’s national LEAF 2016 Singer-Songwriter Competition, finalists in the Best Duo/Group category of the International Acoustic Music Awards 2016, and won top honors in the 2016 Indie International Songwriting Competition.
"Sophisticated folk-pop." Named one of "5 Standout EPs" for 2017.
-Peter Blackstock, Austin American-Statesman
"All In Life, combines a shimmering mix of modern folk, mindful pop, and Americana charm. The EP taps into the soul of a rhythmic back and forth between two distinct voices blending into one."
"Oh so sweet on the ears. While the nightly news was filled with loud, angry and ugly headlines, the lovely tunes flowing from deep in the heart of Texas proved to be the perfect antidote." Named in Top New Artists of 2017.
"Sounds like the promise of days growing longer, and the possibilities of youth."
-The Autumn Roses
"Burchill and Kahn evoke a gorgeous folk atmosphere filled with a sense of its own expansiveness.
"Supremely delicate, achieving a perfect infusion...smooth and harmonious to a (cough) tee."
"Feels like something The Civil Wars would have once done, except that Beth // James fans the flames of soul even stronger."
"Colorful and dreamy, will leave the listener in a trance until the very end."
- Track Rambler