James McCartney will perform Thursday (April 25), 8:30 p.m., at the KTAOS Solar Center, 9 State Road 150, north of El Prado. Opening act will be Benny Marchant.
In addition to the obvious influence of The Beatles (“Abbey Road” and “Let It Be” are two of his favorite records), McCartney says his influences include Kurt Cobain, The Smiths, Radiohead, PJ Harvey, The Cure, The Beatles, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, and Hank Williams.
“I could name so many more!” McCartney said in an email interview with The Taos News. “In the end, I don’t really prefer a particular style, just great music, truly.”
In addition to singing, McCartney plays guitar, bass, piano, drums, mandolin and ukelele. His multi-instrumental background supports his songwriting as well as his music. Although his method for writing varies, McCartney said he usually starts with writing music, and then adds the lyrics.
“I try different approaches though, because sometimes you can find something for a song in a way you wouldn’t have thought,” McCartney said. “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.”
In the end, McCartney added, “it’s about having as much emotion as possible for me, musically and lyrically — cathartic, heartfelt and true.”
Following the success of “The Complete EP Collection” in 2012, McCartney appeared on “The Late Night Show with David Letterman,” which he followed up with his first short tour in North America.
His performances garnered praise from The New York Daily News, which wrote: “An infectious set ... (He) has clearly forged a winning sound of his own.” While The Boston Globe reflected, “The younger McCartney’s promising pop-rock tunes make clear he’s learned a few lessons about melody, phrasing, and charm.”
McCartney titled his first full-length album, “Me,” perhaps a reference to McCartney’s effort to introduce himself and his music to a world that has a hard time not seeing the resemblance he bears to his famous father.
“It’s been a long time coming,” McCartney said. He started recording the album in October in the United Kingdom in studios that included Abbey Road. The final recordings and mixing took place at producer David Kahne’s New York City Studio at Avatar.
McCartney’s album is laced through with delicate melodies and a soulful expression that soars in his song “Bluebell,” dances about in “Thinking About Rock and Roll,” and erupts in “Home” and “Wisteria.” Lyrically, McCartney’s words tend towards the tried and true and fall towards triteness on a few occasions, their lack in originality is forgivable because of the emotional power that comes through in his music. A notable exception is “Snow.” The song’s poetry clears a window into an otherwise difficult-to-see inner landscape — and stuns.
“Some artists are happy doing the same thing again and again, but my favorite artists are the ones who evolve and grow, and I want to be one of them,” McCartney states in his press release.
If his first album is any indication, it seems unlikely McCartney will fail in that goal, so long as he risks finding those elusive outer edges where his creativity can speak with its own innate and original voice.
McCartney will perform with Benny Marchant in Taos. Originally from Annapolis, Md., Marchant is now based in Los Angeles where he formed the band The Kings Royal before embarking on a solo journey writing in the indie folk rock genre.
Tickets are $15 at the door and $12 in advance through www.ktaos.com.
For more information, call (575) 758-5826 or visit www.jamesmccartney.com and www.bennymarchant.com.