Local music: Joshua P. James and the Paper Planes

By Columbus Alive
From the April 19, 2012 edition

“I’m definitely influenced by the dawn of rock ’n’ roll,” Joshua P. James explained. “There wasn’t any fussing around.”

The Columbus roots-rocker was speaking of his songwriting, which echoes the classic country and rock of the ’50s and ’60s as filtered through today’s Americana titans. As evidenced on debut album “Please, Please,” James can make old sounds stirring with a stoic baritone drawl and a clever turn of phrase. He sings of haunting old lovers and walking among javelinas, but it feels real.

He might as well have been referring to his band The Paper Planes’ manner of business. Since forming in the afterglow of New Year’s Eve revelry in the early hours of January 1, 2011, they’ve already performed enough concerts to reach the triple digits and recorded an album with Jay Alton at Sonic Lounge.

“All of us having full-time jobs, I think we played 90 shows last year,” James said.

James, a proud native of 900-strong northeast Ohio town Bolivar, bounced from Colorado to Idaho to Virginia before landing in Columbus four years ago. He played solo for a spell, but eventually bassist Evan Harrison Parker and drummer Brandon Wood became fans of James’ work and eagerly offered to be his backing band.

“I told him I played the upright bass,” Parker said. “That was a lie.”

Parker got to learning, and the band clicked immediately. They honed their craft with a series of weekend jaunts, including one stretch on ComFest weekend when they played three shows in three states in 30 hours. Lately they’ve stretched the limits of their day jobs even further; the band returned Sunday from a 17-day “maniacal boomerang of a tour” that took them to Olympia, Washington and back.

Next up: Saturday’s album release show at Kobo with Ghost Shirt, Joey Hebdo and DJ SPF 45.