To be Blunt, I was miserable says James
January 10, 2008
The last time James Blunt played live in Reading, he couldn’t have been happier.
His Hexagon appearance in October 2006 proved to be one of the town’s gigs of the year and cemented Blunt’s position as the number one singer-songwriter in the country on the back of his multi-platinum selling debut album Back to Bedlam.
But when Blunt appears at the Rivermead later this month, you can expect a more miserable time!
It’s nothing to do with the unfair criticism Blunt has had in the national press over the past 12 months, as an industry fell out of love with his style as quickly as they had fallen head over heels in the first place.
It’s just that, by his own admission, the songs on his fine second album, All The Lost Souls, are largely “miserable”.
That was never the intention, given that Blunt retreated to his home in Ibiza for some winter warmth and songwriting inspiration, only to find conditions that made Britain feel positively tropical.
“You need a bit of quiet, so I went to Ibiza for three months in the winter with my piano and guitar,” said Blunt, whose Rivermead gig on January 23 is already a sell-out.
“I wrote some miserable songs. It was freezing. Someone stole my boiler and I was sitting there in a hat, coat and fingerless gloves.
“If the songs sound sad, you can understand why.”
Some achievement, then, that Blunt managed to overcome the notorious ‘tricky second album’ challenge with an impressive collection that included the catchy single, 1973.
That didn’t stop the music press giving him a colder shoulder than he had suffered in his Ibizan villa, but Blunt insists he can handle it – and the endless rumours about his love life.
“I’ve had my feet on the ground because my friends and family have been abusive to me since this happened,” he jokes, before adding, with a sense of ‘so what?’ that “life is for living”.
“In order to write songs I need to live life too,” he continues. “If I just sat in a hotel room I wouldn’t have anything to write about.”
Whatever the media reaction to his current tour, and even if the “miserable” songs may suggest otherwise, Blunt insists he is never happier than when he is out on tour.
So expect some warm laughter among the cold vocals at the Rivermead.
“The trappings of being in this business are that you get to go on tour with your band, go on stage every night and laugh with each other with music as our medium of conversation and have an audience who may have had these songs as a soundtrack to their lives.
“Music is a great art. It’s a form of communication that transcends language.”
Cold comfort indeed.