Sons of the James is a collaboration between Atlanta singer/songwriter Rob Milton and producer/multi-instrumentalist DJ Harrison. Written in 2015 in Harrison’s hometown of Richmond, in response to Milton’s experiences with the Black Lives Matter protests, their debut, Everlasting, is a powerful slice of rich, world-weary soul music. After a brief instrumental intro, the album kicks the doors off the hinges with “I Want More”—big, over-driven drums and heavy bassline driving the tune under Milton’s ghostly vocal harmonies. The song is gospel-informed, and it’s clearly soul music, but it also calls up the electrified energy and fire of punk rock.
With their spirited cover of Donny Hathaway’s “Thank You Master (For My Soul)” the duo brilliantly channels the sound and feeling of early 2000’s neo-soul—Voodoo-era D’ Angelo, Glenn Lewis, Bilal, and Donnie’s The Colored Section. With Milton’s dreamy tone and lush harmonies melding beautifully with Harrison’s inventive production, the album sounds fresh and contemporary while remaining thoroughly steeped in decades of Black musical tradition.