SJ Staff Picks-What's Your Music of Choice?

At Steven James, story is our passion.  And stories come in many shapes, sizes, and vessels.  Today we’ll look at the kind that come with rhythm and instrumentation and sometimes lyrics, sometimes not.  We asked our team to share one of their favorite albums/CDs, songs, or performers.



Katie, Wonder Woman of Web Design: “The most played album in my collection over the last few years has been ‘Hamilton.’ It has gotten me through countless long car rides, marathon cleaning sessions & I’ve even been known to play it while designing some snazzy websites!  This Tony-winning musical is clever, funny, and an incredibly unique take on U.S. History.  Be sure to listen to ‘Hamilton’ (preferably on repeat) before it makes its way to town during the 2018-2019 Rochester Broadway Theater League season… and then good luck getting tickets; it is even more amazing live!”



Nate, peerless and fearless Video Production Manager: “‘Sleeping at Last’ is one of my favorite artists working today. Singer/songwriter Ryan O’Neal uses multi-layered instrumentation and nuanced, poetic lyrics to express the beauty and sadness in the world. Listen to any of his recent songs about the Enneagram types for a captivating taste of his work.”


Brian, a.k.a. Sales Ninja: “Klingande is a song by Jubel.  When the saxophone begins to go it kicks the song up to another notch.  It’s always a go-to Pandora station for me. Music is usually more about the rhythm and tempo more than lyrics for me.”  Jubel is a French duo.  Klingande was a 2013 single that hit # 1 on the charts in parts of Europe.   



Steven James’ Director of Marketing and 8th Wonder of the World, Sharon: My home is never without sound.  I married an engineer who plays the sax and is addicted to live music.  My daughters sang in high school and continue harmonizing to this day whenever they are together, most times at the top of their lungs.  So many songs to choose from in Kunkelville but I must say my favorite is the Secret of Life by James Taylor.  Most don’t know it which adds to the favorite factor and makes us feel like true JT fans.   What is the secret of life?  It’s to enjoy the passage of time.  James, (I feel like we’re on a first name basis) also adds, ‘Try not to try too hard, it’s just a lovely ride.’   It’s an oldie but goodie (1977) and I didn’t hear until 1987, until that same sax player who sat behind me in math class shared it with me.  Of course, it was our wedding song and we sing it to each other every anniversary.  Just like Steven James, with or without words, music tells a story too.”





Hayley, who puts the special in Social Media Specialist: “Picking my favorite artist was surprisingly a very hard decision. I have grown up loving many types of music, and I’ve been known to have the most diverse Spotify playlist out there. If I had to narrow it down to one artist I would say, Zac Brown Band. Over the years they have been the one band that I have consistently listened to. Their amazing blend of old folk music, with the perfect amount of southern twang, makes for the perfect mix.  Their song lyrics will blow anyone away!” 



Abbey, SJ’s Queen of Graphic Design: When I think about my favorite music, I find myself circling back to the bands that were popular when my parents were growing up, many of which aren’t even touring anymore. That being said, my favorite band, Blackberry Smoke, is not likely one that you have heard over and over again on the radio.  Blackberry Smoke is awesome because while the music captures the tone, as well as the free-spirited and lighthearted approach of the 1970’s, the band is in their prime, still active and touring.  It is the old-style music that I love, but in a band that is part of our time.”




Jeremy, video production Jedi: “My favorite album of all time is Let’s Face It’ by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I think it’s a perfect album, with every single song complementing the last. My favorite song on the album is ‘Royal Oil’ which I thought was just a catchy jam, but it turns out it’s a cautionary tale about heroin… who knew?  But it is a perfect representation of ‘96 in the “Summer of Ska,” the last time my favorite genre was even remotely relevant.  Also, I saw them in Buffalo on New Year’s 2014 and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.”



Josh, video production something-equivalent-to-Jedi-although-Jedi-cannot-be-repeated-twice: “I’m going to have to go with Beck. The guy can tackle any genre and own it while simultaneously raising it, whether it’s Rock, Pop, Blues, Folk or Funk. There is a Beck song for any occasion. Need a song to get you pumped at the gym? May I suggest ‘Minus’ off his ‘Odelay’ album? Maybe you just want to kick back and relax? ANy song on ‘Mutations’ would do the trick. With Beck, you just can’t go wrong.



Brie, Steven James’ Branding Virtuoso: My favorite artist is John Mayer because, no matter what mood I’m in, he has an album to lift my spirits and mold my emotions.  Sad? ‘Continuum’ is jam-packed with love song anthems. Soaking in the sunshine? The bluegrass vibes in ‘Born and Raised’ will make you feel like the ‘Queen of California’ (which is one of the songs on the album). His latest album, ‘The Search For Everything,’ is a healthy mix of all the ‘John genres.’ It never gets old!”



Our content (adjective) content (noun) developer Paul: “The self-titled album Robbie Robertson by the legendary guitar player from The Band is near the top of my list.  The 1987 album is a great blend of forceful songs and more ethereal ones. All have soul – Robertson sings like he’s talking to you.  ‘Broken Arrow’ was later made into somewhat of a hit by Rod Stewart.  ‘American Roulette’ is about the fame-trap that killed Elvis, Marilyn, and James Dean.  ‘Showdown At Big Sky’ pays tribute to Robertson’s Native American heritage.  ‘Hell’s Half Acre’ is a powerful Vietnam War song.  Just a complex, beautiful and thought-provoking album which is filled with stories.  One of my all-time faves.”




Jim, the mighty and mystical managing partner of Steven James: “‘Tunnel of Love’ by Bruce Springsteen was my go-to album during my college days.   It’s a sometimes-overlooked masterpiece in the Boss’s repertoire. It’s powerful from the stripped down ‘I Ain’t Got You’ as the opening track, to the soulful power of ‘Walk Like A Man,’ ‘One Step Forward,’ ‘Valentine’s Day,’ and ‘Brilliant Disguise,’ to the title track’s metaphor of love being like a carnival ride – and one that’s not always smooth.  As the song says: Then the lights go out and it’s just the three of us: you, me, and all that stuff we’re so scared of.  Gotta ride down baby into this tunnel of love.’”



Nick, Steven James’ strategist extraordinaire: “If I were to choose a record whose impact on the world of entertainment may have been the most powerful in the past half-century, it’s the phenomena that was Thriller in 1983.  Michal Jackson’s album triggered a level of pop hysteria that hasn’t been rivaled by anything but Beatlemania at the height of its fervor.  Also, the video for the song Thriller brought the music vid form into unprecedented territory.  Plus it’s just a great album from ‘Billie Jean’ to the title track to ‘Beat It’ to ‘Human Nature.’  It’s an extraordinary record.”

We hope you’ll check out some of these Steven James staff selections, be they old favorites or something you’ve never heard before.  Music is a universal language and one of the main stories that make the world go round. It provides hope, healing, and happiness. Good luck finding anything that provides gifts as valuable as those three.   If you have a message or story that you need to sing for your agency, business, or organization, we’d love to help you compose it!



I’m Paul, and I’m most content when I’m creating content. I also have a penchant for words that are spelled the same but have different meanings and pronunciations. Vincent Van Gogh allegedly said the best way to know God is to love many things. I try to do that – I love books, movies, sports, music, people, furry critters that don’t bite me, and a lot in between – oh, and I almost forgot long walks on the beach under moonlit skies while listening to Wu-Tang Clan!

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