Jim James – Tickets – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC – April 30th, 2013

Jim James

WRNR Presents

Jim James

Cold Specks

Tue 4/30/13

7:00 pm

$1.00 per ticket will go to the City of Hope.

Jim James - (Set time: 9:25 PM)
Jim James
Jim James has spent the better part of almost two decades as the lead singer and songwriter of My Morning Jacket. Through six studio albums, My Morning Jacket has grown into one of the most acclaimed rock and roll bands in the world. Alongside the band's recording and touring, James has maintained a steady, bordering on voracious, flow of work. In 2009, he released the Tribute to EP, with his versions of six George Harrison songs. He has also lent his voice to albums by the likes of the Decemberists, the Roots, America, Booker T. Jones, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and recorded and toured with the Monsters of Folk—which teamed him up with Conor Oberst, M. Ward, and Mike Mogis—and participated in the Woody Guthrie tribute album New Multitudes alongside Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, and Anders Parker. In 2013, James will release his debut solo album, Regions of Light and Sound of God. The album demonstrates James' soulful songwriting, his captivating voice and showcases his talents as both a producer and engineer.
Cold Specks - (Set time: 8:15 PM)
Cold Specks
"Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil, lights shining in the darkness.”
-James Joyce, Ulysses

Listen to I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, the debut album by Cold Specks and you’re transported to the Deep South, to the Ozarks and Appalachians-and to Harlem at the very point where blues met soul. But this music comes from a place that’s a long way from the Deep South, geographically and spiritually…

Cold Specks is 24 year-old Canadian Al Spx, which is not her real name, but it’s as real a name as she’s prepared to offer.

Her songs were written over many years in the wardrobe of her teenage bedroom in the Toronto suburb, Etobicoke. One of seven children, Spx shared her bedroom with a sister, and the wardrobe was the only place she could find solitude. “We tried to drown each other out – she’d turn up her TV and I’d play my guitar really loud,” she laughs. “It wasn’t easy.” “I never wanted to be a singer – I wanted to be a guitarist in a rock band,” Until she turned 15, then everything changed. Spx sat down to write her first song, an early version of Graceful Expulsion’s desolate, climactic track, “Lay Me Down”, was born.

"Teenagers all have morbid periods. I had a pretty long one. I went to four different high schools in four years. I didn’t get the chance to develop social skills. I kept to myself.” She smiles: “I do alright now though.”

As her musical education continued she discovered Smog, Tom Waits and Sam Cooke’s live album from Harlem Square Club (“One of the best things in recording history!”). She began playing shows in houses and small bars under the name Basket Of Figs, mostly with a friend and fellow performer, but she didn’t take naturally to the rigours of gigging. “There was a time we booked a show together when it was just me and him. One guy showed up. I just stopped after that.”

College life wasn’t any easier, “I switched my major every semester before I finally gave up,” she says. “I did Renaissance studies, English, art history, philosophy, political science, sociology… I just didn’t want to be there. I went to university to please my parents, who wanted me to be a lawyer. It was the typical story: immigrants move to Canada, have a kid, dream of them being a lawyer or something…” Outside of college, Spx worked in dead-end jobs, selling knives door-to-door, working at a meat factory and manning phones in call centres, which would bring more pseudonyms. “One of them made you have a standard name, so I became Chris Johnson. Everyone had to be Chris Johnson.”

Spx was coy with her music, posting a series of EPs online then changing her mind and asking the website to remove all traces. Eventually, she gathered the tracks together and burned a handful of 12-track CDs, which she gave only to friends. One of them made it across the Atlantic, to her friend Noel Anderson, who happened to play the record when his record-producer brother Jim was home. Jim heard it and fell in love. Jim called Spx in February 2010 and asked her to move over to the UK to work with him. And that April, the 22 year-old flew halfway around the world, landing in London. Together Anderson and Spx transformed her raw, potent songs into polished entities, recruiting long-time PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis in the process. Having never played with another musician, Spx assembled a band to bring these new, lush arrangements to life.

When the track “Holland” was released to the blogs Spx caught the attention of the BBC’s Later… With Jools Holland, and delivered a stunning TV debut in difficult circumstances. “I had been in New York for CMJ,” she recalls. “I lost my passport and visa the day before my flight, my vintage amplifier was destroyed in transit and I had whooping cough. They stuck me in the centre of the stage: Florence right there, Pete Townshend and Mary J Blige behind me, My Morning Jacket on one side, Brett Anderson from Suede on another. I was shaking.”

Cold Specks’s “doom soul” is the stuff of deep emotional connection. I Predict A Graceful Expulsion is intimate and closed-in at times, large and lush at others, and always affecting

“I guess it’s a dark album,” muses Spx. “It was always going to be that way.”

I Predict A Graceful Expulsion is released on Mute on May 22, 2012.
Venue Information:
9:30 Club
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001