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Music Journeys: Morgan James

This special Christmas edition of Music Journeys features Morgan James, who released A Very Magnetic Christmas last month. Among the ten soulful tracks are three original songs, co-written by James and her husband and collaborator Doug Wamble. James joins Music Journeys to explain how the record came together and share a few Christmas memories, including the gift that sparked her career. James will also give us something to look forward to as well in a fun little segment at the end called Three for the Tree. She performs in Cincinnati Friday December 17.  

Do You Hear What I Hear plays...

"My dad introduced me to musical theater, and I became obsessed with that," Morgan James recalled. "My mom brought me up being a total Christmas fanatic, and that includes the music. We had a big Christmas house. Even from a young age, my mom would say I can't wait for you to make a Christmas album someday. It's one of my favorite parts of the season - hearing everybody's different take on all these classic songs."

Back Door Santa plays...

"In February of 2020 right before the shutdown, we released my album Memphis Magnetic," James said. "Our tour and plans got shut down of course. I thought what if we had a chance to go back and continue that project and music-making that we began in Memphis. It felt like that was what we needed to do - something hopeful, nostalgic and full of joy. That's what we need right now after all we've been through the last two years" 

I Wanna Know plays...

"I'm really proud of the originals," James said of the ten tracks on A Very Magnetic Christmas. "I love the classics but it was important to have a few brand new holiday songs. They're also not necessarily about Christmas but about the holiday season."

Long As I Got You plays...

"That's the first original we wrote for the album," James said of the Long As I Got You. "Doug and I rented a house in Woodstock, NY. We were trying to get in the mood to write holiday songs last winter. We were hoping for a big snowstorm, and we got totally snowed in so it really put us in the mood to write.I wanted to be songs for people who aren't necessarily religious or didn't celebrate the holidays. Something for winter. Long As I Got You is about being with the one you love during the winter and being cozy. I think there's something for everyone on the record, at least I hope."

Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday plays...

"We started talking months in advance about what we would like it to sound like, the through line being the amazing band, arrangements and the vibe," James said of her Christmas album. "We knew it would be soulful and recorded in an old-school way. I think what unites it is my voice and my unique take on the songs." 

White Christmas plays...

"We had such amazing Christmases," James recalled. "My grandmother and my mom really threw down at Christmas. We had so many wonderful surprises. One of the most vivid stories is when I got a karaoke machine for Christmas that started my entire career. It was how everybody found out I could sing. My grandmother vowed to pay for my lessons from that day on. I had this big grown up voice and was probably 11. That was really the beginning." 

James hopes listeners feel a sense of nostalgia when they listen to A Very Magnetic Christmas.

"I hope they feel a connection to the past," James said. "Feeling like was this made 30 years ago or yesterday?  A sense of freshness too, because I bring my present day perspective. I hope people feel the joy that we felt when we made it. I want people to be able to pour themselves a glass of wine or a cocktail and put the needle down on the first track, and by the end their ice cube is melted. I want it to be a joyful experience for the holidays." 

Warm in December plays...

"Music punctuates everything I do in my life," James added. "Our lives are so illustrated by the music we listen to. I'd be lost without it. I'm so lucky that I get to make music because it brings joy to so many people. Being on tour is so exhausting. What makes it so worthwhile is that every single night I get to see firsthand how people are affected by music just like I am and how it unites us."

For more information about Morgan James including tour dates, visit her website.

Mike Foley joined WCBE in February 2000, coming from WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. Foley has worked in various roles, from producing news and feature stories to engineering Live From Studio A sessions. A series of music features Foley started in 2018 called Music Journeys has grown into a podcast and radio show. He also assists in developing other programs in WCBE's Podcast Experience. Foley hosts The Morning Mix, a weekday music show featuring emerging and established musicians, our Columbus-area and Ohio-based talent, and additional artists that inspire him.
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