James Blackshaw

James BlackshawHaving the words “virtuoso” and “prodigy” attached to your name wherever you go can’t be an easy thing to deal with. Neither, if your chosen instrument is the 12-string acoustic guitar, can comparisons to John Fahey and Bert Jansch. But James Blackshaw seems to be handling it okay. At only 27, he has just released his seventh studio album, ‘The Glass Bead Game’, which more than lives up to all those accolades. His swirling, mesmerising instrumental pieces, with added violin, clarinet, flute and cello from Current 93 collaborators Joolie Wood and John Contreras, are simply stunning. His MySpace page is streaming six songs from various albums. The first, ‘Cross’, is also the new album’s opening track, so as good a place to start as any. I’d also recommend ‘The Cloud Of Unknowing’, from his 2007 album of the same name.


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