Tuesday 21 June 2016


James McCartney is entertaining fans on his current tour with a blend of eclectic tunes from "The Blackberry Train," his latest release.
Tunes on the album feature a mix of alt-rock, folk, ballads and edgy-based pieces. The last time James performed in the Chicago area was in 2013 when he brought his concerts to City Winery and Schuba's.
James will perform once again at Schuba's at 8 tonight. The Times caught up with James to find out about the new album and his own artistic inspirations.
The singer/songwriter said "The Blackberry Train" was a project that was, in a sense, inspired by many things. His inspiration, he said, always varies.

"But I usually start with music first, and then lyrics. I try different approaches though because sometimes you can find something for a song in a way you wouldn't have thought. Just singing nonsense words to a melody, or bouncing between different instruments, for example. Sometimes you can get a foothold in an unexpected way on something, and suddenly it starts to take shape. I've often blocked the lyrics out or written them in my notebook too, sort of like poetry. But in the end it's about having as much emotion as possible for me, musically and lyrically. Cathartic, heartfelt and true."
The new album, which was released May 6, was engineered by Steve Albini, who also has worked with Nirvana, The Pixies and PJ Harvey. McCartney said Albini "was brilliant to work with."
When he sits back and listens to other artists' music, James said he's prone to listen to a blend of musicians.
"There are so many influences for me ... Kurt Cobain, The Smiths, Radiohead, PJ Harvey, The Cure, The Beatles ... 'Let It Be' is one of my favorite albums ... Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams. I could name so many more. In the end, I don't really prefer a particular style, just great music, truly."
McCartney said he's looking forward to being back in the Windy City.
"It’s a lovely city and has some great vegan places to eat at," he said.
For James, touring is, overall, a pleasure.
"I love performing live, and it's great fun. It can be nerve-wracking sometimes, mostly because I get so pumped up for it. Ultimately though, when you look out at the audience and see them connecting with the music you've written, it's all worth it. An amazing and beautiful experience."
James McCartney will perform at 8 tonight at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $15 for those 21 and older. For more information, call (773) 525-2508. For more information on McCartney, visit jamesmccartney.com.

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