Shelby James and the Crying Shames are scheduled to perform on Friday, June 11, at Long Wong's in Tempe.
Tempe-based roots rocker Shelby James has a yen for yesteryear. The MySpace page for his band, Shelby James and the Crying Shames, is larded with grainy family snapshots and stylized faux '50s portraits of the musician done up like Jack Kerouac's nattier kid brother. Over at the band's official Web site, you'll find a striking banner image of a bygone desert landscape, seemingly captured on your great-great-grandfather's daguerreotype kit. Naturally, James' thirst for nostalgia comes through just as powerfully in his music. The band's 2007 debut album, Down on 9th, is a richly remembered, evocative thing — full of bittersweet recollections, bluesy hooks, and plaintive strings. The album's wonderful coda, "Goodbye Mary Jane," cleanly distills James' sentimental spirit into a 10-minute eulogy of romance and friendship. (Or it could just be about finishing a joint — either way, it's a nice listen.) James is a regular local fixture as a solo performer, but this is a somewhat rare opportunity to see him play with the fully constituted Crying Shames. And that's something to look forward to.