Though he's spent years playing stages across the United States, Canada, and Europe, James Maple's nerves are a little shaky.
Just a few months after splitting with praised alt-country quartet GraveRobbers, the New England-based songwriter took a deep breath and jumped right into a solo career.
"I didn't see myself as a solo artist," says Maple. "I didn't like the idea of being on stage without a full band to hide behind. But I just woke up one morning and decided to throw myself into it and book a tour."
He'll be at The Jinx on May 11.
"I'm doing this whole tour alone," Maple shares. "No one to talk to on the drives. No one to sit at the bar with me before shows and no one to tell me that I played well or played terribly after a set. It's a pretty vulnerable feeling, but it's also good for me because I'm forced to interact with people that I may not necessarily interact with if I had a friend or another band mate with me."
The result of his permanent sabbatical, "American Dreams," is a ruggedly broken-in record, warmly twangy guitar and sedate progressions defining a collection of honest, occasionally rollicking songs that welcome the listener to pull up a bar stool and stay awhile.
Though most tracks ponder solitude, Maple's languid rasp dips and emboldens doboro and harmonica-laced melodies, taking listeners along on tours from West Virginia to nameless small towns to snow-capped mountain ridges.
Fusing elements of the country, blues, and bluegrass greats, "American Dreams" is comfortable like an evening on the porch watching the stars come out and the world grow quiet - though the trivialities and troubles of the day will return in the morning, the moment itself is an invaluable escape.
Playing alongside Whiskey D-ck (Savannah's own Tony Beasley, master of snarky ballads chronicling woes, whiskey and women), May 11 will be the perfect evening for a Jinx House Special (that'd be a shot of Wild Turkey and a tallboy, y'all) and some reflection on heartache, lies, and good intentions gone awry.
And even though he's only a few days into his new venture, Maple is hard at work booking tours for the rest of the year. "This is my career now, which is crazy to think about sometimes," he says. "It's new to me but I'm working with some really great people who want to see me succeed, and that is such a great feeling. "
IF YOU GO
What: James Maple, Whiskey D-ck
When: 10 p.m. May 11
Where: The Jinx
Cost: Cover charge TBA