The number 19 has played a significant role in the life of Ro James. James was born on November 19th, his first love was at 19, first heartbreak at 19, and moved to New York City to pursue music at 19. So, when headlining his first tour, it would only be appropriate to title it XIX.
Born the son of a military veteran, and pastor, Ro James spent much of his life on the move – born in Germany, spending time in Hawaii, Oklahoma, Indiana and New York City. Growing up in a religiously conservative home, James wasn’tallowed to listen to much secular music, but eventually found his way to the likes of Prince, Stevie Wonder and Bowie. Merging the passion and soul of Gospel music, with the flare of R&B and Rock, James has carved a sound for himself, with his tenor singing range, that has as much growl to it as it does finesse.
On Sunday, February 27th, James brought his XIX Tour to Philly’s Foundry at the Fillmore, in support of his debut album Eldorado. Using his ’92 Eldorado that was given to him by his father as the central concept for his album, James often took the time to explain the origins of the each song, as well as his upbringing – making the concert an intimate experience.
Dressed in a navy blue, Air Force Flight suit, Ro James took the stage in front of a sold out, standing room only crowd. James began the night with The Ride to the sound of dissonant guitar chords and an 808 drum pad. As the drums and bass locked into a mesmerizing groove, James transitioned to Already Knew That, as the drums and bass locked into a mesmerizing groove. Engaging with the audience, James told the story of his first love, as well as his first heartbreak, which would inspire songs like Everything – a mellow song led by an acoustic guitar that tells the story of how he lost himself in that relationship, and Remind Me of Me – the story of how he and his ex-girlfriend shared a similar demeanor and drove a Cadillac, too.
James also performed songs from previous EP’s Coke, Jack, and Cadillac’s. Closing out the night, James ended with a rearranged version of the fan favorite song, Permission, as audience members sang along.