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VOL. 38 | NO. 20 | Friday, May 16, 2014

Songwriter neighbor makes his way to Nashville

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I was walking Maggie the cheagle in the neighborhood, as I often do. This was in November 2012, so the old girl was pushing 10 years old at the time.

She was happy enough to stop and greet the young man who was getting out of his car.

He had a guitar case in his hand, an accessory that’s pretty hard to miss. This was nine houses east of where Maggie and I live.

This was in front of a house owned by a Mr. and Ms. Landfair, whom I had met a few months earlier, not long after they had moved to Little Rock from California. I’d forgotten they had a college-age son.

“So, what kind of guitar do you play?” I asked. And a conversation got started between James Ebel “Jimmy” Landfair and me.

Somewhere in that conversation, I must have said, “Why don’t you come down to my house and play some music.” I might have even told him about my Taylor guitar.

Anyway, half an hour or so after Maggie and I got home, there was a knock at the door. And in walked Jimmy Landfair.

For half an hour he and I picked and sang. Right here in the Puzzle Factory, a.k.a. my study.

We talked about music, songwriting, what makes a song good, super and “not so much.” And I thought, “Boy oh boy, this guy has really got some talent!”

Maggie was particularly fond of a song called “In My Dreams,” as well as one called “Anything for You,” both written by Jimmy.

These two songs are on Jimmy’s first EP, “Schoolhouse,” released in March by Cellophane Skies.

If you’d like to listen to some of Jimmy’s music – even if only for the purpose of assessing my (and Maggie’s) opinion of him – Google his name. One of the first hits should be a YouTube video. Look for the words “Like I Know You Now.” The phrase “Behind the Scenes” is also in the caption.

That afternoon in November 2012, Jimmy also played for Maggie and me a melody with no words, though every so often Jimmy’d sing, “I guess I just didn’t know you then like I know you now.”

I remember thinking, “What a great hook!”

Now titled “Like I Know You Now,” with a full set of lyrics and everything, this song is also on “Schoolhouse.” The story behind that song is Jimmy’s to tell. He’s the rock star. And I mean that literally!

Jimmy was raised largely in California, the Ventura area.

He was in college in Louisiana when I met him. He now lives in Nashville and is known to perform around town there, as well as in Little Rock, Baton Rouge and other cities, mostly in the South.

Do Jimmy a favor, if you’re so inclined: download and enjoy his music. Then email, text, and/or tweet to all your friends to do likewise. He’d love nothing more than for his first release to go viral.

Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at vicfleming@att.net.

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