“Houlahan is one of those gifted songwriters which has to write, has to play and has to sing. It doesn’t matter if anyone’s listening or not. He going to sing for himself first, if there are ten, 100, or 1,000 listeners in front of him even better. He’s going to sing his songs regardless.”
“[Houlahan’s] songwriting eccentricities add serious vibrance to the mosaic. James seems to be a veritable encyclopedia of folk music, ranging from traditional to futuristic, comforting to wonderfully strange…his entries are extraordinary no matter which folk/American direction he goes in. This is the kind of music that any craver of pure songwriting prowess is bound to enjoy."
"If you like Tom Waits, Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt, then chances are big you will become a fan of James Houlahan."
“As the album title [Multitudes] implies, Houlahan embraces the wide view of americana. He trips through gothic alt-country, warped Dixieland and a serious side of southern fried on the first three songs, and then he really takes off.”
“James Houlahan kicks off the new CD with “Fires Of Mercy,” a song with a very cool vibe, like a twisted, dark, personal carnival populated by ghosts, by apparitions. It’s a carnival where we are both barker and mark, and sounds like a delightful, lonesome waltz into hell.”
“Houlahan’s gravely voice is a bit like Dr. John’s; and the atmospheric Multitudes often takes you down roads that seem as enigmatic and just plain weird as anything the good doctor has delivered…Houlahan seems to be on to something original and noteworthy.”
“Kris Kristofferson, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits got together for an afternoon of Grand Guiginol and… An utterly nutty but serious record for confirmed left field tastes.”
“Houlahan is interesting in that he does write some quite standard Americana songs (‘Morning Sun’ fits this mold) but he doesn’t rest on his laurels; ‘Marcy’s Lament’ follows ‘Morning Sun’ and is characterised by industrial percussion, fuzzy bass guitar, reverb heavy vocals and distorted guitars…Houlahan’s experimentation is refreshing…"
"This latest collection of songs ["misfit hymns"] is a heartfelt journeyman’s tale of love and life as influenced by the kindred minds of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Warren Zevon and Neil Young. His songs are earnest and intimate, yet meticulously arranged. While Houlahan straddles the line between traditional folk and country, there are occasional nods and pushes of musical boundaries seldom explored by singer/songwriters of this ilk. Rarely have music and words collaborated so closely to convey mood so effectively."
"James Houlahan is clearly an artist that's in it for the long haul. How else could his sophomore record, Misfit Hymns, feel so natural despite covering just about every possible angle of the folk-rock shtick? From the unabashed twang of opener New Year's Day to the obligatory Bon Iver-esque Song for Janis, no two tracks on this album are much alike. It's a true relief to see an artist who, when faced with the post-debut dilemma of "what next?", decides to keep striking out for new ground...the variety in this record means there's a ton of depth for repeated listens. Likewise, when you consider the great production, the tight backing band, and the general sense of well-being that pervades the entirety of Misfit Hymns, there's really no question here. Anybody who digs folk and doesn't fear the word twang should grab this new release while there's still time..."
"[Seven Years Now] is such a great album—full of bittersweet lamentations and twanging guitars. There are a lot of good songs here, so let me name some highlights. “Paper Man” is so beautiful and plaintive—Houlahan is backed by an unnamed female vocalist who adds a haunting dimension. “Rocketship” is another really beautiful track…this is a great album chock full of melancholy but nostalgic tracks and I’d highly recommend it."