James McCartney & Joshua Black Wilkins Father’s Day show at PJ’s Lager House
Sun, Jun 19, 2016 @ 8:00 pm to 2:00amView event on Facebook
Special Father’s Day show with the son of rock and roll royalty James McCartney. Nashville’s Joshua Black Wilkins joins in support. Tickets: http://jamesmccartneydetroit.brownpapertickets.com/
Sunday, June 19 / 8pm / $20
James McCartney (Alt/Psych/Rock)
Joshua Black Wilkins (Americana)
Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter James McCartney has remained fiercely dedicated to his musical vision of melding smart hooks and feral alt-rock with the grandeur and spiritually centeredness of psychedelic music. Now, he issues the sharpest entry of his vision, the majestic The Blackberry Train engineered by Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies and PJ Harvey).
“It’s all been an evolution,” James says. “This set of songs definitely has a harder edge, but it’s a continuation of the last album. The main thing for me is to not conform or compromise.”
James’ panoramic artistry is inspired by such diverse musicians as Kurt Cobain, The Smiths, Radiohead, PJ Harvey, The Cure, The Beatles, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, and Hank Williams. His fingerprint aesthetic has earned him plaudits from Rolling Stone, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and The Daily News. He’s earned a strong following the old fashioned way, through tirelessly touring the US, Europe and the UK, and playing bigger and bigger shows with each go around.
The Blackberry Train is an epiphanic co-mingling of aesthetics. James sought out the distinct audio stylings of Steve Albini to conjure a grungier sensibility. He welcomed the engineer’s gifts for capturing music with a raw clarity, and Steve Albini’s reputation for not impinging on an artist’s vision. The results make for an eclectic album with fastidiously crafted songs documented in the studio with glorious purity.
“I like the music to have elements of the avant garde, psychedelic, and be just a little against the grain,” James reveals. “But in the end, it’s about having as much emotion as possible for me, musically and lyrically. It’s all about the music being cathartic, heartfelt and true.”
The Blackberry Train manages to be both diverse and cohesive. The album opens invigoratingly with the jangling rocker, “Too Hard” and closes with the stately and aptly named folk song “Peace and Stillness.” Between these bookends, highlights include the rough-edged and urgently melodic “Unicorn,” the anthemic “Peyote Coyote,” and the soulful ballad “Prayer.” One very personal song is the winsome and reflective “Waterfall” which was inspired by memories of his mother.
This summer and fall James will embark on extensive tour dates in the U.S. Thinking ahead, James says: “I just want to keep on going, keep working, and improving as a songwriter. I’d love to feel that I realized my full potential both as a person, and as a songwriter. That feels like a great, fulfilling goal to shoot for. Making a lot of music, and striving for more depth artistically–those are my goals.”
Joshua Black Wilkins: “When I first moved to Nashville about three years ago, I caught Joshua Black Wilkins by chance at the east side club, The Five Spot. He was playing an essentially solo set – he’s usually got a rockabilly band – with only Amanda Shires by his side, on fiddle and harmony vocals. He had his vocals hooked up through an old radio microphone or Green Bullet or something like that and when he sang a version of Ryan Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up,” you absolutely felt every word of the song from the bottom of Wilkins’ beat-up, broken-down, throaty voice. As the crowd thinned out during Wilkins’ sparse set, it seemed like maybe I alone was blown away that night. For some reason, it’s taken three years for American Songwriter to pay respect to the music of this true Nashville original.
Wilkins moonlights as a photographer – or does he moonlight as a musician? – and going through his work is like a walk through Nashville – icons like Marty Stuart and the late Charlie Louvin; mainstays like Bobby Bare; newer arrivals like Dan Auerbach; comers and goers like Patterson Hood.
His music is clearly a reflection of the world that his photographs inhabit: staunchly American and a bit haunted and decaying. The characters on Wilkins’ new album, While You Wait, tend to be tortured like the protagonist of a good noir novel. In “Catch Your Fall,” with its sweeping chorus fiddle lines, Wilkins deals with a relationship in which, to borrow a line from his buddy Justin Townes Earle, he seems to know better but just not give a fuck. Pitch-perfect lines like “you look better in black and white” and “you look better when you’re 3,000 miles away” tell the conflicted love story without ever giving away too much.” (American Songwriter)