Hugh James “My Brother’s Shoes”


In a time where it seems like people are more divided than they’ve ever been before and the gap between the impoverished and the rich is growing at a rate that few of us can even fathom, music is one of the only tools we have as a society to create some sense of unity to keep us together. Hugh James’ powerful new single “My Brother’s Shoes” is a melodic message of compassion and kinship among men amidst a cultural backdrop that is guilty of fostering stoic ignorance, and it couldn’t be arriving at a more fitting time in history. James’ words carry great meaning in this song and prove that there’s still a little integrity left in the American pop lexicon.

Music has this awe-inspiring power of communicating all of the emotions that there are no words in the English language to convey, and you can tell when Hugh James starts to passionately croon in “My Brother’s Shoes” that every one of his lyrics is coming from a place of sincerity. When we listen closely enough there’s a textured sense of longing that is impossible to mistake as he harmonizes with the backing vocals (provided by the stellar 3G). His heart is on his sleeve in this song, and he isn’t holding anything back from us.


The video for “My Brother’s Shoes” is just as moving as the single is, featuring footage of James’ own late brother, whose battles with homelessness and alcoholism are chronicled in the song. It should be emphasized that for as personal a track as this is for James, it isn’t referencing an isolated incident in modern day America. Homelessness is a social issue that even the most progressive-minded among us seem to have difficulties addressing, but I love the way the subject is broken down in this song. James wants us to see people for people instead of just their economic statuses, and his words don’t fall on deaf ears here.


For as open-minded and liberally stylized as pop music has supposedly become in the last twenty years, there aren’t many artists that have been willing to dig as deep as Hugh James does with this single without being attached to a faceless charity project. It’s a shame that the only time we can get some of pop’s most heavily promoted acts to show interest in a cause is when there’s a monetary element involved, but that isn’t what “My Brother’s Shoes” is all about. This is Hugh James speaking out not because of his financial interests but because of his own ethics, which makes this a much more organically composed tune than anything his peers have released lately.



Evocatively presented, emotionally stirring and melodically pleasing on almost every level, “My Brother’s Shoes” is a winner in my book. It’s not a perfect song nor is it the penultimate release of James’ career, but its simple statements and rousing level of focus are nothing to be ignored. I recommend that anyone in need of a refreshing spin on optimistic pop music with an important message give this track (and its associated music video) a listen when they have the chance.


Michael Rand

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