Despite his punishing workload as one of the world’s most in-demand guitarists, the seemingly ubiquitous James Walbourne invited Notes from Mt Pleasant up to his house in North London’s hills for a chance to catch up with him and shoot some film.
As we settle down in his kitchen with twilight views of London he explains he’s been busy the past few days rehearsing with Edwyn Collins, preparing for a world tour in February & March. This kicks off with a gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 16th February, followed by dates across Europe, Japan and the US.
In a few hours hours he’ll be making the most of some precious downtime by going to see his favourite football team, Arsenal play at Highbury and the following morning at 7:30am he leaves for Dallas to play with The Pretenders at the Super Bowl as part of CMT Crossroads, along with Faith Hill.
He arrives back in London on the 7th February, going straight into a UK tour with Heavenly label-mates Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou and Sea of Bees.
As if this doesn’t sound busy enough for one man to be, he also spent last year touring with the Pretenders playing a double headline tour of Australia and New Zealand with Blondie, recorded and released an album of his own with Jim Keltner, Ivan Neville, and members of the Pogues and still found time to tour with old friend Justin Townes Earle, finishing off on the 29th January with a sold out show at the Union Chapel.
When I mention our blog he says “I tried writing a blog myself but never managed to keep it up, and I gave up after just a few posts”. Is it any wonder why?
We decide against an interview as neither of us feel like going through the rigmarole, besides, he hates being interviewed, especially, he says, by guitar magazines due to their tendency to fixate on technical and gear-related questions. He’s never been too fussed about gear, he just loves playing.
He brings in a mandolin and a 12 string and we get set up to film. I don’t need to tell you the rest. You can see for yourself above. More films from this session will be loaded up in our video library soon so keep an eye on the site. James played songs from his new album The Hill. Cocaine Eyes being the only track really showing off his guitar skills. The rest highlight James as singer-songwriter. Go listen, or better still, go see him.
James plays another sold out gig in London tonight, 9th February 2011 as part of the Heavenly Records tour at Bush Hall details here.