The alt country fringes of James Wallace & the Naked Light's song "Dancing Star (No Naked Light)" gets brought out in front of the big, bright, city-slicking lights. The Greensboro, North Carolina indie Americana barn-breaker is performed with the energy of an NYC rocker captured in this live video debut by Joshua Shoemaker. With a phone handset receiver strapped to the mic stand for long distance vocal effects, James revamps his song off 2009's I SMILE ALL DAY I SMILE ALL NIGHT about a farmed bass-raising boy who finds himself looking for communication, new light, and new love in the Wudaokou, Haidian District of North West Beijing.
The live rendition brings out the adventures of a big fish farmer from a small pond who finds himself swimming about in a larger lake. Running free through the vast international, metropolitan cityscapes; Wallace describes the heart in his hapless tale as, "prisoner of a greater device". With light permeating everything in the song, we are given a glimmer of the American abroad, bumbling into the ways of amore in Beijing on the twenty-seventh floor while fireworks burst all around. "She said, ' You’ve been in my country for a year, but I can speak your language better than you can mine, and you’re not pretty, but you’re able to be loved', as she placed her hand on my thigh."
This live version presents Wallace's life advice and parables through means of louder amplification. While the album version of "Dancing Star" twangs like a lazy lap steel on a mellow dude ranch; the energy between Wallace and the Naked Light here carry a larger weight of vindication when delivering the desire and consequences of lines like, "If you’re trying to hit the bottom, hit the bottom,don’t let them make you think you're all right." Yet it is this dichotomy of the country boy traveling to town and abroad that presents the raw cadences of fingernails and fish met with youthful wanderlust. "Some things are taller than a pile of fish in naked light. Some things get rougher than my rough fingernails. But still, there’s nothing louder than the sound of the bossa nova rhythms trapped inside a schoolboy’s hollow mind," bringing us to the closing, at which point James shouts to the crowd, "Walk it down! Climb that hill! What time is it?"
Catch James and crew tonight in Baton Rouge, Louisiana along with at the following tour dates.
15 Baton Rouge, LA – The Varsity Theater
17 Nashville, TN – Stone Fox
18 Columbus, GA – Cut Bait Music Festival
19 Chattanooga, TN – Moccasin Bend Brewery