Tell us about yourself and what you do?
My name is Jim. I’m a songwriter and story teller. My music is normally a sparse, dusty sounding brand of Americana. I play acoustic guitar and occasionally play electric when the mood takes me.
My music is steeped in what interests me. The golden age of Americana, the dust bowl and the travelling medicine shows. The carnival that rolled into town and took peoples minds off the droughts, black blizzards going on around them and stirred up their imagination and emotions.
How did you start out?
I started performing solo in 2007 or so. Prior to that I had sang (and occasionally played guitar) in a few bands. How I wrote songs began to change and eventually the ideas that I brought to the table weren’t sounding as I had imagined. You can definitely trace the roots of Jim Dead back to some of the songs I brought into those bands.
What is your current release?
I released ‘Ten Fires’ in June this year. It’s a bit of a departure from my solo set up as I’m backed by a band, The Doubters, on a few of the tracks. I wanted to flesh out some of the songs and it was great to get the opportunity to work with some brilliant musicians. I’d played a few gigs for Craig Hughes (Glasgow based alternative bluesman) and it was great to get him involved. He suggested working at 16 Ohm Studio in Glasgow with Tommy Duffin and together with Tommy’s brother James we worked hard to make it the best record possible. I’m really proud of it and hopefully folks out there are enjoying it as much as I enjoyed making it.
What is the best part of being in a band/singer/song writer?
I guess it’s being able to write something and perform it with complete freedom. Getting a reaction good or bad. I love listening to music and making a connection with a song and it’s nice to think that people might just be doing that when they listen to something I’ve created.
What is your most significant moment yet?
It would have to be releasing ‘Ten Fires’ because it was great to be in a position to release a new album, celebrate it with a launch and to have the guys that helped create it back together for one night. That’s pretty hard to top. Just being able to record and release music knowing that there’s an audience for it is pretty special and to see the positive reviews. Making positive steps, regardless of how small, is incredibly rewarding.
What are your biggest musical influences?
Johnny Cash has been a huge influence, as has Richard Buckner, Tom Waits, Mark Lanegan and Steve Earle. There are certain elements from various other artists over the years that have had an impact on what I do but I find that those guys continue to inspire me time and time again. Stylistically, I guess the often ramshackle sound of Waits and Howe Gelb pull me in every time and keep inspiring me to do something better than I’ve done before.
What venue/gig do you most want to play?
I’d play on a bus if the people wanted to hear what I had to say! But I’d love to play the Voxhall in Aarhus backed by The DeSoto Caucus. That would be incredible.
What is your best/favourite song you have written?
That’s a tough one. I think ‘Jim Landstrom Must Die’ from ‘Ten Fires’ is one of my favourites just now. It’s very different stylistically from a lot of my other stuff. So too is ‘Mean-Eyed River Snake’. It was pretty incredible to record them and hear how they evolved with input from The Doubters. I wrote the songs on an acoustic guitar and it seems they were meant to be played by a band.
What’s your favourite album of this year?
It’s probably Richard Buckner’s ‘Our Blood’ I don’t think he has a song that I disliked.
What does the next six months have in store for you?
I’m looking at arranging a tour to promote ‘Ten Fires’. Hoping to get the album out there in some venues across the UK and then make some plans to take it to Europe. I hear Jim Dead is becoming pretty popular in The Netherlands.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I’ll be making music and hoping people out there are still interested in listening to it. Playing gigs and telling stories. You never know, maybe I’ll just be getting round to returning from The Netherlands.
What’s the best thing about Americana-UK?
Where to begin? There are so many features that are invaluable to fans and musicians. The coverage of some of my favourite acts that rarely get covered here in the UK and the guide to Americana in the UK, something that I’ve looked at a dozen times and have found a great help when it comes to looking for venues.