When I chat to James Blundell he tells me he gets to Tasmania at least once a year and it’s among his favourite places on earth. Recently I spoke to James about his new and fourteenth album ‘Campfire’ on this his 30th anniversary in the music industry. It’s a busy year for James as he joins ‘The Boys From the Bush 25th anniversary tour’ with Lee Kernaghan, Tania Kernaghan, The Wolfe Brothers and many more country artists.
James was the first Aussie to pave the way to Nashville and has written music for Lee Kernaghan, Slim Dusty and Jimmy Little as well as being a five time ARIA award nominee.
James refuses to be pigeon holed into any genre and that is evident on his new album. For this album he wanted to find songs that were eclectic examples of good storytelling. They include songs by Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen as well as local greats like Cameron Daddo, Ann Kirkpatrick, Tania Kernaghan and Tassie’s own Wolfe Brothers among others. Already ‘True Blue’ which he duets with Tania Kernaghan is creating quite a buzz and for those readers that automatically assume it’s an update of the John Williamson song think again, keeping with Jame’s refusal to be categorised, it is in fact Madonna’s True Blue that Tania and James have recorded together.
James tells me after three decades in the business the process of song writing has become clearer and he uses the comparison to the visual arts and how writing a song may take a lot of repaints to get right.
His advice for those wanting to become singer/songwriters is, don’t get into it for commercial success but do get into it, if it is the only thing you can imagine doing.
James is thankful for the collaboration on this album of the head of the label Karen Waters. A conversation they had in 2016 about Bruce Springsteen’s album ‘Nebraska’ that was a ‘stripped back’ for emotional impact demonstrated that even without all the bells and whistles, perfection can be found and so was born ‘Campfire’.
Campfire’ is out now.