It can be a difficult being a working musician as Irish singer-songwriter Gavin James found out. Indeed, before taking the move into performing his own material, the talented musician found himself playing Irish folk covers in the lobby of a hotel in his hometown of Dublin. Despite the regular and not terrible pay-check, the frustration of singing 3 hour sets to a room of uninterested people proved to much for James who now performs original folk songs, four stellar examples of which you can find on the new EP, Remember Me.
Finger picked guitars greet us on album opener and title track Remember Me, then joined with shakers, violins, piano and of course James’ soulful voice. The singer definitely has a sweet way with words to match his passionate vocal delivery with the line “Its not where you go, its just where you’re going and who’s the company” reminiscent of London folk, scarecrows-in-waistcoats band Mumford & Sons. This galloping starter is soon put to bed as single For You will fill your ears with the ballad-esque folk in a manner more akin to fellow Irishman, Damien Rice, especially when the cello and more theatrical piano parts kicks in.
Not to say James’ is reliant on the orchestral decorations of his songs as the latter half of the EP proves. Slow starts as a gentle finger plucked number with a chorus comprising of a husky cry from the singer as he strums his guitar with a bit more ferocity. Album closer Lucky follows the same formula, soft beginnings leading to a powerful climax before gentle proceedings drift the song away to silence.
As a showcase of James’ talents, the Remember Me EP is formidable example of what the singer-songwriter is capable of, his popstar vocals mixed with his obvious guitar ability is impressive to say the least, something that will most likely attract fans of popular folk acts like the aforementioned Damien Rice and Grammy Award winner Bon Iver.
In this sense though, the similarities are easy to draw on and its clear James is an artist who wears his influences on his sleeve. However the feeling of nothing new makes it difficult for the songs to stick with you, they don’t quite live up to the likes of James’ influences. It is an enjoyable EP nonetheless, James is just a signature quirk away from hitting the nail on the head, then he shall surely be remembered.