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Solo Sailing

James Walsh launches solo career and sings for upcoming rock & roll film Powder

Rolling Stone IN May 10, 2010

Performing in India ”“ as part of the three city Freedom Tour – for the very first time, James Walsh threw in a few covers by the Rolling Stones and (surprisingly) Abba besides singing songs from his Starsailor catalogue. The Starsailor frontman had “heard rumours that he had some fans in the country,” but swinging to the Stones and Abba suggested he wished to play it safe on some level. Though at first it did sound peculiar that Walsh was to tour the country without the rest of the members from Starsailor, it is just one of the many signs of his trying to establish his individual identity as he prepares to launch his solo career. This in no way means that Starsailor is now defunct. Walsh clarifies that it’s just pushed to the backburner for a while. “I guess there is just a lot happening with my solo career and it is my priority right now. I think if something amazing happened for the band, like some major development involving all of us, a reason for a sudden resurgence of interest, we’d get back together and head to the studio,” he says.

Though Walsh might not be performing his solo material live, he is done writing for his debut EP for which he intends to start recording this month. It seems the EP – which shall release sometime in autumn ”“ shall reveal to us not only a mellower but a less disturbed side of Walsh. Starsailor’s first hit single ”˜Alcoholic’ set the tone for most of the band’s music ”“ brooding and melancholic. His solo debut would, in essence, still bear some integral qualities he has come to showcase with Starsailor but one must expect it to be “more lush and soulful, a bit gentler than Starsailor.” While Bruce Springsteen and Jeff Buckley have played constant inspiration to the singer-songwriter, of late he has been listening to Randy Newman and new Brit-folk sensation Laura Marling a lot. Speaking of lyrical inspirations, Walsh turns to his family, and suggests the album is in a way reflective of “his marriage, children and the past few years of his life.”

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Walsh has also just wrapped up work on his first film assignment. He lends his vocals for the film adaptation of Kevin Sampson’s rock & roll novel Powder. The movie, which goes by the same name, has been an exciting project for Walsh who wrote and sang songs for the role of Keva McLuskey – the lead singer of the fictional band The Grams in the novel ”“ in the film. “It was a great experience. The important thing for an artist is to constantly try and find inspiration for new material, so to have a book and a major story to draw from was amazing. It’s quite challenging really. I think the songs I wrote for the movie are kind of more rock & roll than the songs I would write for myself, and I was also writing from the perspective of a much younger rock musician,” he says. With so much going for him, and Starsailor still by his side, Walsh is definitely on a roll.

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