James Hollingsworth - Coming Home To Stay
14/09/07 11:34 Filed in: Album Reviews
England-based singer/songwriter/guitarist James Hollingsworth has a unique, complex guitar style, reminiscent of Andalusian guitar as well as modern rock.
As well as being known as an inspired solo singer/songwriter/guitarist, James is also lead singer and frontman with the rock band JEBO.
There are hooks, harmonicas, harmonies, hush and heaviness aplenty, delivered with James' characteristic passion and aplomb. More unusual tracks include the palindromic 'Bounty of Id', (also a 'Mini-Saga', meaning it has exactly 50 words) of just under 2 minutes to the epic 12-minute 'Long Way Out'.
Track dates are included in all of James' releases as part of the biographical record of his catalogue. “This has always been a plan,” James says, “songs often shed light on the meaning of other songs written at that time.
Recently quoted from a gig:
“.... and then there was James Hollingsworth... well by the time he'd finished I had 2 pages of notes and adrenalin coming out of my pores. I was itching to get his album once he'd finished - and i'm listening to it as I write this. It's bloody brilliant.
“live he started quite subdued....did a couple of mellow songs , in a mellow stance, and a mellow tone to his voice... then he sang possible the sweetest version of "Happy Birthday" i've ever heard - for Rach.
“Then he hit the stratosphere. I'll throw some names out that I thought of while I listened - Cat Stevens, Ian Anderson, Roy Harper, Geddy Lee...there was loads going on....and he was just passing through. "You're not the only one" was the first song he did when he really went for it - and it was beautiful - fantastic song.
“Then he did a song which he introduced by saying "this is a song about living on the same planet..we've got a long way to go" - perfect introduction. The song starts with the line "if you look around the world its hard to imagine how things are gonna get better" - the song is "Sooner or Later" and the CD version is just as good as it was live. Powerful stuff.
“Then he completely blew me away. Not sure what the song is called....(if you're reading this James, i'd love to know) It was incredible - he got himself into it by playing this strident riff, staring at the audience and swaying to the song's rhythm - the song was being built up to this huge rock beast right from the start....then he started singing - in a way he hadn't up to this point - and it was amazing - huge delivery - fast, staccato,
biting lines punctuated with this fast, big, riffing guitar. It had a kind of "Ritchie Havens 'Freedom'" rhythm, if you know Woodstock - but it had a powerful sense of urgency. It was breathtaking. The last line (sang really quick) "thank you please just to leave me aloooooooone" - it was HUGE! lol - brilliant. “then he had to follow it!
“A beautiful song called "Walk the Earth" which had me singing along in my chair (I was disappointed it wasn't on the album... but it's a good excuse to buy his others) - a great song that reminded me of Steve Knightley. Nice percussive slapping on the
guitar on this one.
“He was a really nice bloke too - afterward me and Andy Brown were chatting to him - and Andy asked him to write something ridiculous on his inlay booklet (I won't say what it was but it's not something you'd expect someone to write) - and he did - great stuff.
“Still listening to the album - i'm on track 11 now - it's brilliant. Powerful performances, distinctive songwriting, a prog rock sensibility paired down to the acoustic as Roy Harper would have it, and the perfect production. Brilliant. So pleased I have the CD.
- Gareth Howells - re. Gig in Portsmouth 15/03/07.