Shawn Fogel (Golden Bloom / Brothers in Yarn)
3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
Following the release of his second album The Blackberry Train in 2016, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter James McCartney is set to tour the US in 2017.
James has built a robust international profile through tirelessly touring the UK, Europe and the US, including a sold out three show residency at The Islington in London. Having gained critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and The Daily News, James toured the US in 2016 playing 44 shows in 25 states in just over 6 weeks.
James released his first full-length album Me in 2013, describing it as an, “Intimate, deeply personal, and honest” album that would say, “This is who I am… both musically and personally”. Since then, James has remained fiercely dedicated to his musical vision of melding smart hooks and feral alt-rock with the grandeur and spiritually centeredness of psychedelic music.
The Blackberry Train, engineered by Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies and PJ Harvey), is both a diverse and cohesive album with an eclectic mix of delicately crafted songs. It opens with the jangling rocker, 'Too Hard' which features Dhani Harrison on guitar and vocals and closes with the aptly named folk song 'Peace and Stillness'. The album blends indie-rock, alt-rock, feel-good music, great melodies and catchy hooks. Highlights include the rough-edged and urgently melodic ‘Unicorn', the anthemic 'Peyote Coyote', and the soulful ballad ‘Prayer'. One very personal song is the winsome and reflective ‘Waterfall' which was inspired by memories of his mother.
“I like the music to have elements of the avant-garde, psychedelic, and be just a little against the grain,” James reveals. “But in the end, it's about having as much emotion as possible for me, musically and lyrically. It’s all about the music being cathartic, heartfelt and true.”
Thinking ahead, James says: “I just want to keep on going, keep working, and improving as a songwriter. I’d love to feel that I realised my full potential both as a person, and as a songwriter. That feels like a great, fulfilling goal to shoot for. Making a lot of music, and striving for more depth artistically – those are my goals.”
James shows no signs of slowing down and continues to hone his craft as a songwriter, musician and performer.
Shawn Fogel (Golden Bloom / Brothers in Yarn)
Golden Bloom began as the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Shawn Fogel, who played every part on 2009's debut full length Fan the Flames and 2011's March to the Drums EP. During this time, he earned the attention of tastemakers like SPIN, Magnet, and Daytrotter. After years of touring with a band, however, he found that songs had evolved beyond their studio versions, and the musicians he had surrounded himself with added new depth and dimension to the music. On 2013's No Day Like Today EP, live band members Josh Cohen, Jeff Patlingrao, and Justin Hofmann joined Fogel to hone a new batch of catchy, thoughtful songs, recording for the first time as a full band.
Golden Bloom's evolution continues to unfold in lush melodies on their new record, Searching for Sunlight. The lyrics deal both gracefully and bluntly with hard truths. The music, however, is uplifting and memorable, built around layered arrangements and unpredictable chord progressions.
In June of 2013, Cohen and Patlingrao joined Fogel at a cabin in Maine to begin writing new songs. Although their previous release, No Day Like Today, was arranged and recorded as a band, this record would be a collaborative effort from the very start. Patlingrao had informed the band that he would be shifting his focus to his solo project, Orca Age, but they all agreed he should help write the new album even if he wouldn't be playing on it. After a week of creative isolation they had the bare bones of the songs that would become Searching for Sunlight.
"Golden Bloom had always worked with outside producers and recording engineers in the past," says Fogel, "but this time we decided to do it all ourselves. Josh had been building his studio for the past few years, and had recorded and produced several albums for other artists [Kayln Rock, Eva Walsh]. We knew it would take a little longer but we were up for the challenge." Searching for Sunlight did take longer to write and record than they hoped, but in the process, they discovered a better album than the one they initially set out to make.
In "Books You Never Read," Fogel sings "Fall back on what you know," even though Searching for Sunlight does just the opposite both sonically and lyrically. "Looking Up To You" begins with a single finger-picked acoustic guitar and builds to joyful explosion of sound. "Circles Round My Mind" jangles with nostalgia like a lost love letter from Alex Chilton. "Great Unknown" launches with pounding drums and jagged guitars, shaking the listener free of any notion that Golden Bloom has a singular sound. "Fall Out Of Line" explores new sonic territory with banjo, baritone guitar, and lap steel. The title track's sparse acoustic arrangement sounds just as it does when the band performs live, stepping off the stage and away from the mics to lead the crowd in a sing-along. "Come Back Home" sparkles with the pop sensibility of The Cure, accented with toy piano, synthesizers, and angular guitar parts. On "Want Love," Fogel's vocals are straightforward and prophetic: the verse's sparse, single note guitar parts contrast with the sweet, rich choruses, made moreso by guest backing vocals from Counting Crows' Adam Duritz. Fogel responds to his earlier lyric from "Books You Never Read," with, "Is this a version of yourself you recognize?" In Searching for Sunlight, fans will recognize a more mature, refined Golden Bloom.
If their previous records were stars, Searching for Sunlight is a supernova: the melodies are memorable and hold up beautifully on repeat, the vocals are also sweeter and more refined; the lyrics speak to a deeper sense of self and understanding; and the talented group of musicians paint colorful tapestries with small, unexpected flourishes and tasteful moments of revelation.
$20 + Fees