James Walsh (Starsailor)
Sunday 28th February 2021
Doors 2:53 pm
We are thrilled to welcome James Walsh to Revelation St Mary’s, Ashford. After almost a decade fronting Starsailor, James Walsh has emerged as a singer-songwriter in his own right, with an acoustic guitar and some big, new tunes to travel wherever the road may take him.
James released his first solo EP ‘Time is Nigh’ earlier this year, a reflection on the past couple of years experience for him as a solo artist. “The great thing about the band is it’s a comfort thing,” he explains. “You know what the set is, you know what’s going to happen, and you know they’re there to back you up. With the acoustic stuff, there’s this whole new sense of freedom. You get stuck in that album-tour-promotion cycle. Now I can have beats on laptops, experiment with synthesizers or strings sections, write or work with all sorts of people in all sorts of different countries or environments. I feel much more like a singer-songwriter now, living it and breathing it.”
Starsailor sold over three million albums, and enjoying adventures like supporting U2 at the Stade de France, when 2004’s Four To The Floor was Number One in the country and seeing the stadium “go absolutely mad”, before watching U2 and ending up in Dublin, being offered advice by Bono.
After taking the difficult decision to put the band on extended hold, James has barely looked back. He’s toured with Sheryl Crow – playing to more mainstream but “tremendously appreciative” audiences than he ever did with Starsailor’s indie following; written with Suzanne Vega after inviting her to sing with him in New York and recording the Live At The Top Of The World EP with Norway’s Tromsø Chamber Orchestra in the closest major settlement to the North Pole. Working with an orchestra and world famous composer Bernt Simen Lund is a long way from Starsailor’s Wigan roots – “very cold” laughs James – but incredibly exciting. As a result of adventures like that, James admits, “songs have been pouring out of me.”
This sense of rejuvenation has fired his own new music, his new found freedom bringing out the Randy Newman and Rufus Wainwright influences that – he chuckles – “the [Starsailor] lads weren’t very into”, acquiring a new maturity and a new sound, more sophisticated and raw at the same time. Playing with musicians often ten years his junior has resulted in a “mix of styles, quite raw heavy backing but with my voice and melodies over the top.
Older, wiser – and a father – he’s looking forward to “doing something different for a while”, setting off in a different ship but touching people once again and making what promises to be a very adventurous solo album. What hasn’t changed has that voice – still wounded, still soaring, still bursting with hope and passion – and his belief in his own music.
“I’m in a position now where I feel like I’ve washed everything off and am starting again and there aren’t really any rules. It feels like I can do what I want now.”
Don’t miss the chance to catch James in the stunning surroundings of St Mary’s Ashford!