NEW ALBUM - CAN YOU IMAGINE?
CAN YOU IMAGINE?
Opening track 'Something I Thought I Understood' enters on ominous acoustic strum and the lines "Progress, well that's something I thought I understood. Faster will thrill me, slower will kill me" intoned with a later life Rick Rubin era Johnny Cash type stark gravitas, a side to Keith's voice not heard before but certainly most welcome. As the track stretches out, the percussive shakes, rattles and clanks drive it through on a backing track of distorted, eerie voices.
'Clean Lines' ambles through on a rumbling, atmospheric bass line and title track 'Can You Imagine?' round up this opening trio of Keith James written songs with lovely picked guitar and signature vocal, "Can you imagine? If you stare into a pool, there's no reflection. No earthly trace of you". Not wanting to over interpret this opening set of songs, but both musically and lyrically for me they conjure up images of isolation, loss and impermanence.
Track four 'Never Enough' is the first co-write with Jenny Finch and has another edgy acoustic intro with the provocative lyric "Tearing at the crust of fate, I dare you, I dare you. And eat all of life on a plate. Never enough, never enough" before the song opens out in altogether sweeter vocal territory, then the chirpily titled Keith original 'Chic a Boom' boasts a lovely acoustic lead line and gloriously panned shaker, and a delivery that sets this song in the Leonard Cohen 'lost sessions' department.
'Clarity Road' is a Jenny Finch solo write and sets itself out on a quietly intense, propulsive guitar part before Keith's 'Human Kindness' revisits the deep vocal timbre of the opening track with it's optimistic message that belies the delivery, "I'm buying into human kindness, Its alive and well on my street, And working beautifully as far as I can see".
The final three tracks are all Keith and Jenny collaborations, 'Zoom Girl' is positively playful, 'All Around' starts off with the bleakness of a dark Richard Thompson, but then both musically and lyrically becomes something of a 'call to arms' for the young, "All around, all around the children are leading. Showing the way for those yet to be born", then the courtly pacing of album closer 'Life In Black And White' brings the record to a close in suitably ambiguous fashion but with maybe more hope than not, "Just when my eyes were tired of the dark, I see shades of Indigo Blue. Indigo Blue".
Well it's hard to avoid cliches like a 'triumph of hope over adversity' and that sort of thing, but as we all know, often cliches are true!
Whatever the circumstances this record emerged from, it is yet another triumph of songwriting, collaboration and creativity for Keith James. As if that wasn't enough, there is a bonus disc of the album in purely unadorned, acoustic form, an embarrassment of riches indeed.
So, another year and 'Can You Imagine?' is predictably yet another fine album from Keith as his rich vein of form continues.
» 8th December 2021
THE SONGS OF NICK DRAKE - New series of Concerts
A haunting and immaculately crafted concert
THE SONGS OF NICK DRAKE
Keith James masterful interpretation of one of Britain‚Äôs greatest ever song writers‚Äô music offers a rare opportunity to hear the late Nick Drake's beautiful, transfixing songs played live
Nick Drake is the most revered and loved of all this country‚Äôs Singer/Songwriters. He has given us timeless songs that shed all the tears of life within their fragile yet perfect lines. He recorded three cherished Albums between 1969 and 1972 but was almost entirely unknown in his day. After his tragic death in 1974 aged only 26 his music almost disappeared into obscurity. Now, thanks to a massive resurgence of interest and a worldwide re-evaluation of his genius Nick Drake has become a national treasure.
Two decades have now passed since Singer/Guitarist Keith James paralysed the whole Country with his stunningly beautiful series of concerts entitled The Songs of Nick Drake. At the beginning of the project in 2001 he was the first artist ever to bring this immaculate and intriguingly fragile music to Theatres across the UK in its pure live concert form. The result was six years of highly acclaimed tours amounting to over 1000 concerts in venues across the UK, Ireland, Holland, France, Italy and Spain including all of Nick‚Äôs Schools and Colleges - even Glastonbury Festival.
NEW LION BREWERY, TOTNES
Thursday February 3rd
‚ÄúAn absolute must‚ÄĚ Mark Radcliffe
» 8th December 2021
THE SONGS OF LEONARD COHEN
The Songs of Leonard Cohen
These remarkable songs - stripped back to their bare honesty and courage.
‚ÄėThere is a crack in everything, that‚Äôs how the light gets in‚Äô Cohen‚Äôs most memorable and visionary line from his song ANTHEM. If ever there was a sentence in modern poetry to reflect on and give hope and understanding to us all, it is this line. This Concert begins with ANTHEM.
CONCERT DATES ARE:
SAT JAN 22ND. RIVERHEAD THEATRE, LOUTH
FRI FEB 4TH. HANGER FARM ARTS CENTRE, S'TON
Tickets selling fast
SAT MAR 5TH, BRIXHAM THEATRE
FRI MAR 11TH. BREWHOUSE ARTS, BURTON ON TRENT
FRI MAR 18TH. LUDLOW ASSEMBLY ROOMS
Enigmatic, mysterious and sub textural, songwriter Leonard Cohen was an unflinching character, with an exact sense of prose, wry humour and the courage to wrestle with the unspoken, forgiving human frailty with the stroke of each word.
The chilling announcement of Leonard's death marked the end of an era. His music befriended an entire generation. Within every line of his writing, he has been challenging us to listen more carefully, speak more thoughtfully, think more deeply and recognize our own fragility. Our World misses him very much.
With a lifetime reputation of performing in this exact way and an undying love of the ‚Äėpure song‚Äô Keith James gives you a concert of Cohen‚Äôs amazing material in the most intimate and sensitive way imaginable, exposing the solitary inner strength of his greatest songs in their original perfect form. Keith has performed an extensive tour of this concert in Theatres and Arts Centres across the UK, giving almost 500 concerts ‚Äď close to 150,000 people. This has proved to be one of the greatest honours in Keith James‚Äô 40 year career. Keith lives in Powys, Wales and sometimes in Andalusia, Spain.
Included in the concert are Cohen‚Äôs well-known songs: Famous Blue Raincoat, Sisters of Mercy, Suzanne, and Hallelujah alongside his rarer and profound writing such as Who by Fire, Joan of Arc and Secret Life. Also included are songs from his posthumous album Thanks for the Dance such as What happens to the Heart and Keith‚Äôs dramatic performances based on the work of Federico Garcia Lorca ‚Äď Cohen‚Äôs greatest influence. Keith has also transcribed into song one of Leonard‚Äôs poems from his collection ‚ÄėBook of longing‚Äô written whilst on retreat during the 1990s.
» 1st April 2021
A CONCERT FOR A CHANGING WORLD 2021
As a gesture of belief in the possibility of harmony and understanding within all of us interwoven in today‚Äôs World
A CONCERT FOR A CHANGING WORLD.
UNIQUE AND TIMELESS SONGS OF VISION, QUESTION AND CHANGE
Words that reverberate with the tenacity of human spirit in these current times of brooding disquiet, fractured societies and the fear of Nature. A number of the Songs written in the 20th century have changed history and moved millions of people to do things they never thought possible. Now everything is moving so fast and yet, so little has changed.
Included in this concert are songs written by, Joan Baez, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Maya Angelou, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young; Also included are many of Keith‚Äôs songs from his 2020 Album ‚ÄėParadise lost‚Äô and from his brand new 2021 Album ‚ÄėCan you imagine‚Äô
CONCERT DATES ARE:
TROWBRIDGE TOWN HALL
Saturday January 15th
Sunday January 23rd. Rescheduled to Sept 8th
THE GLOBE, HAY ON WYE
Saturday February 5th
HUNTINGDON HALL, WORCESTER
Friday March 4th
ASHBURTON ARTS CENTRE
Sunday March 6th
SOUTH HILL PARK ARTS CENTRE
Wednesday March 23rd
For this concert, many of the songs have been given a powerful brand new verse that stands proud against this current wave of crises.
Keith, a life-long devotee of emotional performance, approaches each of these songs with fresh courage and passion, provoking both reflection and reconciliation.
'Can You Imagine?' is predictably yet another fine album from Keith as his rich vein of form continues.
Paul Jackson FATEA
» 13th January 2020
Celebrating the Music of YUSUF - CAT STEVENS
It is hardly surprising that, to mark its 50th anniversary, Yusuf has entirely re-recorded and re-released his remarkable Album Tea for the Tillerman, with each of the unforgettable 11 songs re-conceptualized and re-imagined and gifted back to us among all the uncertainties of 2020 and beyond. (Release September 2020)
During the early 1970s, the amassed body of music from this hugely popular and sincerely adored singer/songwriter made for a collection
of 'must have' records across a whole generation. Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat were on everyone's
turntables and on every radio station, live versions are played in concerts, bars and on the world's beaches to this day.
Songs such as Wild World, Father and Son, Moonshadow and Where do the Children play have been covered by hundreds of Artists worldwide.
CONCERT DATES ARE:
RIVERHOUSE BARN, WALTON ON THAMES
Friday January 28th. Rescheduled to Oct 14th.
TRINITY ARTS CENTRE, GAINSBOROUGH
Saturday March 12th
This concert will give you far more than just the music itself; Keith James is one of the most active and inventive performers on this Country's concert scene. All of his concerts are based on dedicated studies of poets and songwriters with whom both he himself and audiences identify as having a quality and integrity far above the norm..
There is a huge amount of insight into the history and the energy of Cat Stevens; his early pop career, his illness that changed him existentially and spiritually into an incredibly thoughtful and loving singer songwriter; such that his songs are remembered instantly for their uplifting sense of truth, promise and human fragility.
Much to talk about the background and embryo of each song.. some of which will be performed as all of us remember and some, carefully and intuitively re-voiced - respectfully re-interpreted with rich, balanced guitar arrangements and a more personal vocal approach.
Yusuf campaigns on many educational and humanitarian issues,he was awarded the 'Man of Peace' award by the Nobel Peace Laureates. In 2015 and he received the Lifetime achievement award from BBC Radio 2 and the Ivor Novello Award for outstanding song collection. He has received two honorary doctorates and awards for promoting peace from two organisations founded by Mikhail Gorbachev.
» 5th May 2016
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