James Walsh in conversation with Rob Kelly
James Walsh, lead singer with Starsailor and renowned solo artist has worked with the likes of Susanne Vega, John Leckie and Phil Spector, famously had a long running feud with Noel Gallagher and a is know for stunning songs such as “Silence is easy”, “Alcoholic”, “Four to the floor” and “Poor misguided fool”. James is a charismatic live performer in venues small and large, including, V festival, Glastonbury and the Albert Hall. And comes back to St Pauls Worthing on June 1st
His new album “Tiger on the Bridge “is released on 31st May and James sets out on a tour on May 15th. This will be James’s third visit to the venue and he really enjoys the intimate atmosphere at St Pauls and the enthusiastic response he gets when he comes to Worthing.
I spoke to James about his song-writing process, his new album and how he chooses material for his live set, but first wanted to know how preparation for the upcoming album release was going.
Yes, going well but I am at that kind of nervous, exciting, organising time for the album release at the moment, just crossing our fingers and hoping for the best
Is it a move away from older stuff, are you moving into new ground?
Yes I think its definitely different, obviously its still my voice, that hasn’t changed massively from the last Starsailor album, so that is still a mainstay, but I would say the new solo album is more influenced by singer/songwriters like Jackson Browne, Bon Iver and Neil Young. It’s a bit more in that vein than maybe some of the Starsailor stuff, which was more influenced by bands and a bit less introspective, but I am really proud of it.
Have you sorted out a set list for the tour yet?
I am definitely going to play a lot of songs from the album, I have tended to mix it up a lot in the past and just play a few songs from the latest thing I have done, but I am particularly into the new album and I think there are some songs on Tiger on the Bridge that will fit nicely alongside the Starsailor tracks.
And the format is it acoustic again with you and your guitar?
Yes and mainly the new album alongside some Starsailor classics, I think there would be people asking for their money back if I didn’t do any Starsailor songs, I still enjoy playing some of those.
Last time at St Pauls, you played a fantastic version of Four to the floor
Thank you, yes that’s definitely in there, songs like “Four to the floor”, and “Silence is easy”, are songs I never tire of playing and I love finding new ways to bring them to life and try different ways of playing them and St Pauls is a great, intimate venue where you can bring the audience along with you on that journey
Will there be any covers, this time round?
Definitely do some covers, been listening to a lot of Jackson Brown, Bon Iver, Van Morrison. I saw him at the Isle of Wight last year, I am quite friendly with the organiser John Giddings and he was telling me that Van Morrison was adamant that he wouldn’t paly “Brown eyed girl”, but on the day it turned out he was having such a good time, he turned round to the band and said “Brown Eyed Girl”, lets do it.
He must get asked for it every time he plays
Yes and we toured with James and they have the same love/hate relationship with “Sit Down”, (laughs)
So do you have that relationship with any Starsailor song?
No, no I am happy to play any of them, there are some I like playing more than others, the only thing I refuse to play is… well, sometimes you get latecomers, shouting out for songs you have already played (laughs) so the only thing I refuse to play is if you don’t get there on time I am not playing everything twice (laughs)
Thanks for your time James and good luck with the release of Tiger on the Bridge and the tour.
No problem, it’s been a pleasure.
James Walsh is a thoroughly nice guy, happy to talk openly about his process, talking to him you can understand why his songs are so immediate and personal, he clearly is still in love with song-writing and performing and I would strongly recommend getting tickets before they sell out.
James Walsh is at ST Pauls Worthing on June 1st. Get tickets here
Huge Thanks to Tanya Coton for setting this interview up, to Alex Kelly for constant tech support and to Mike at St Paul’s for booking such a great array of talent for Worthing’s best live venue.
Read the full, extended interview on my blog Womu– a Worthing music blog at worthingmusic.wordpress.com