Could this be Blowzabella musician Paul James’ final farewell to Newbury?


“Local boy” Paul James is bringing his world-class band The Drowned Lovers to Arlington Arts on Thursday, May 26, ahead of select dates in Belgium. This really could be his last goodbye to Newbury, he tells TRISH LEE

Paul James’ solo album, The Drowned Lover and Other Dark Tales, is inspired by his love of traditional folk songs with strong stories and his ability to bring together all sorts of musicians and influences in gripping ways.

The band builds on this, drawing on folklore, world music, indie rock, funk and jazz, to create a glorious sound that transitions from quiet acoustic textures to pure rock and electronica. and hard.

Paul James, photo Jez Prout

Live, they play everything on the album and some surprising covers about life, death, joy and disappointment.

Best known as a member of veteran folk band Blowzabella, with whom he toured the world and released 12 albums, he is “the only person in the world to have played on every Blowzabella album!” An absolute privilege,” Paul formed The Drowned Lovers to perform his solo material.

“I love old folk songs and the kind of weirdness found in countless folk tales – and I do my best to bring these timeless tales to life for a modern audience, so yes, at some point given, I play a little accordion, but mostly we fuse samples, hot rock, jazz and indie music to perform these songs about love, death – and even death caused by love.

Paul James pipes, photo Elly Lucas (56333996)
Paul James pipes, photo Elly Lucas (56333996)

“I always make it a point to play with musicians who are better than me and this band is no exception.”

Besides Paul (vocals and saxophone), the band includes Jo Wadeson – bass, Fiona Barrow – violin, Victor Nicholls – guitar, electronics and Emma Holbrook – drums.

“The band is so amazing that singing with them feels like flying! We’re pretty loud – it’s more electric rock than acoustic folk – and although some of the song themes are quite dark, we don’t take ourselves seriously at all and we always have fun on stage and really enjoy banter and the laughter with the spectators.”

Paul James, photo Elly Lucas
Paul James, photo Elly Lucas

Originally from Newbury, Paul now lives in Belgium. “I’ve always played more in Europe than in the UK, so when Brexit came around I made the decision to emigrate.

“My partner, artist and filmmaker Rosalie Bosteels, is Flemish and we had to decide which side of the Channel we were going to live on. Frankly, there are more opportunities in the EU than in the UK in the creative industries – add to that the ability to travel, work and study in 27 European countries without visa restrictions – and the decision to settle in Belgium was obvious.

“I love visiting England in general and Newbury in particular. I grew up there and have lots of friends in the area, some of whom I’ve known since I was at St Nic’s Primary School.

Arlington Arts Concert
Arlington Arts Concert

“This concert is really important to me. The people, history and landscape around Newbury have always been a big influence and have driven me towards a lifelong obsession with traditional folk music and the daily life of our predecessors. The West Berkshire Museum and the Newbury Library played a big part in my informal education growing up and I never forget that. However, living abroad means this really could be my last goodbye to Newbury.

26’s backing band is HendrickxRoy “I’m delighted that Maia Hendrickx and Calum Roy have agreed to join us for the concert.

“I’ve known Calum for most of my life and this duo is truly a class act. I hope they let me on stage with them for a song!

Thursday, May 26, 7:30 p.m.

Paul James and the Drowned Lovers

Support: HendrickxRoy

at Arlington Arts, Snelsmore

Tickets: https://arlington-arts.com/

Website https://pauljames.be/the-drowned-lovers

Facebook https://facebook.com/pauljames.eu

Meet the band:

Paul James – vocals, saxophone, bagpipes, piano, concertina. Fiona Barrow – violin. Emma Holbrook – drums, percussion. Victor Nicholls – electric guitar, electronics. Jo Wadeson – bass guitar.

“Transcending time, culture and genre, Paul James and the Drowned Lovers stretches folk music to the limits of definition; fusing samples, scorching rock, jazz, indie… and traditional song into a white-hot melting pot of songs about death, love – and death caused by love. NWN (April 2019)

Paul’s solo album, The Drowned Lover and Other Dark Tales, draws on his love of traditional folk songs with strong stories and his ability to bring together all sorts of musicians and influences in gripping ways. The band builds on this, drawing on folklore, world music, indie rock, funk and jazz to create a glorious sound that transitions from quiet acoustic textures to pure rock and electronica and hard. Live, they play everything on the album and some surprising covers about life, death, joy and disappointment.

Singer and musician Paul James also performs with folk legends Blowzabella. He composed and performed the music for the critically acclaimed Comus at Shakepeare’s Globe Theatre, London in 2016 and you sometimes hear his music on TV and in film documentaries.

Fiona Barrow is a Bristol-based violinist who was classically trained until defecting to follow her love of traditional and world music and theatre. She has worked as a street artist across Europe with Tragic Roundabout, Fiasco di Casino and Swervy World and toured with the Doppelgänger Gypsy Orchestra. His theatrical work includes stints with the Kneehigh Theatre, the award-winning show Traveling Lights Into The West on Broadway and the critically acclaimed Comus at Shakepeare’s Globe with Paul James.

Emma Holbrook is a drummer, percussionist and filmmaker based in Bristol. Passionate about all kinds of music, she plays everything from swing to funk, including soul, blues, folk and flamenco. She also plays percussion and composes music for contemporary dance classes and performances.

Victor Nicholls plays improvised and experimental music on fretless guitar and bass. He anchored the fiery folk band Scarp (winner of France’s World Music Album of the Year), played Albert Ayler-influenced swamp jazz with saxophonist Tim Hill, and lounge-core electronic improvisation. with trombone player/theremin Harry Dawes in Big Hair. Victor has performed with theater orchestras, marching bands and post-punk bands. He is a member of Evening Star and in duo with jazz composer Martin Pyne.

Jo Wadeson started playing bass at the age of 14 in Derbyshire pubs. Since then she has continued to perform and record with many international artists including The Waterboys, Grace Jones, Thea Gilmore and Beth Orton.



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