I love melancholic music. I love the way it washes you with wrought emotion. How it reaches deep into your soul. How it makes you ache and hurt. The way it wrenches the strings of your heart. I love the sheer beauty that is found in sad music. As Elton John pointed out, sad songs say so much.
Over the years I have found many song writers who have that ability to break my heart whilst enriching my soul with their lyricism. One for whom I have had the utmost respect for is James Walsh. Right from the moment he entered my musical world with his band Starsailor, Walsh has been a consistent source of some of the most beautiful lyrics you could ever hope to hear. Sad songs about love, family, loss and hurt have been his mainstay in the last couple of decades. And, despite setting the bar high right from the very start, James has continued to write songs of the very best standard.
Released at the end of May, James new solo album, Tiger On The Bridge, continues that rich vein of musical excellence. Eleven songs, each gorgeously crafted with an obvious love of what he is achieving, have been put together in an album that stands tall with everything he has produced before. Melodic with a gentle flow that eases you through what seems to be a most personal journey, Tiger On The Bridge, is just a most wonderful three quarters of an hour or so of your time. Though this is an album that bears repeated listens, and rewards the listener each and every time.
For me this reward comes from not just the songs, or the impressive band James has put together for this recording, but from the humility and honesty James invests in his songs. This is an album written not only for James to lay bare his emotions, but is one written firmly with his fans and supporters in mind. Recorded live in front of an audience of fans who pledged their support for this project this album is a fitting testament to James’ standing as a performer with the utmost respect and love for those who’ve followed him over the last 20 years. The ending to the last track on the album, Glitch In The Machinery, is just a most wonderful moment of mutual love from artist and fans.
When I want melancholic music I have many albums I will turn to. Tiger On The Bridge will be one of those. And it will be so for many years to come. James Walsh has created an instant classic of it’s kind. An album full of character, love and emotion all wrapped up in perfect melody and musical excellence. If Sad Songs do say so much, James Walsh is the artist who proves it.