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James and the Shame is the solo music project of Rhett James McLaughlin. Born in Macon, GA and raised in North Carolina, Rhett was steeped in the melodies of his father’s musical heroes, singing along with records spinning the likes of Merle Haggard, George Jones, Roy Orbison, and Elvis Presley. While in high school in the nineties, Rhett picked up the guitar and played along with George Strait, Randy Travis, and Alan Jackson, absorbing their lyrical nuances and soft, soulful delivery. James and the Shame captures Rhett’s reverence for the foundations of country music while embracing the songs that poured from his car radio when he was coming of age.

A stark departure from the over 100 comedic, multi-genre songs he’s written and recorded as part of the duo, Rhett & Link, James and the Shame is a deeply personal musical exploration of Rhett’s evolving worldview. Growing up in a devout Christian home, Rhett’s faith only deepened as he transitioned to adulthood, when he worked as a full-time missionary on college campuses in the South. Eventually, doubts about the truth of Christianity began to plague him, and after a long battle of attempting to piece together the remnants of his shattering faith, he began to embrace uncertainty and finally abandoned his traditional perspective.

Rhett has been profoundly influenced by the work of Jason Isbell, Tyler Childers, and Sturgill Simpson, particularly in the way they have used the vehicle of conventional country music to carry messages that challenge the viewpoints that are often associated with the genre.

His first single, Believe Me, addresses the many assumptions that were made about him once he publicly shared his story of spiritual deconstruction. His full-length album drops in September.

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