At 22, Falmouth-based singer songwriter Tom James has already developed the virtuoso acoustic guitar chops and mature song writing skills of someone 20 years his senior. Having played at venues in both London and Berlin, touring two summers of major British festivals and performing tracks from his successful 2011 EP Green & White, he’s accomplished an astounding amount in a very short period of time.
This week brought us another incredible release via Indie Kitchen Records in the form of the cerebral and emotive Blood to Gold EP. Comprised of five outstanding acoustic tracks that are easily comparable to the likes of Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran, this record is a must-buy.
Hailing from Falmouth in Cornwall, Tom was taught the ins and outs of guitar by finger-style expert Andy McKee. Learning to play using unique methods that stray from simple strummed chords, he began to both utilise the instrument percussively on his lap and finger pick it with complex arpeggios. These styles lend themselves to the bulk of Blood to Gold and make for an incredible EP.
The EP begins with the raw, harmonic title track. “Apart from being the title track, it’s appropriate that Blood to Gold is the first song of the new EP, as it’s usually our opener. It allows us to demonstrate the dynamics of the band; it’s a bit of a crowd favorite” Tom explains.
Followed by the beautifully emotional ‘Layers’, this record is already off to a brilliant start. The song describes the two sides of an individual, which Tom explains is “one is that person’s potential-self and the other is what the person really is”. The lyrical depth to this record is definitely proving to be something special.
The third track from Blood to Gold is a nostalgia-fuelled song titled ‘Bloom’, progressing throughout into a warm acoustic track that William Fitzsimmons would admire, with a variety of carefully thought-out drum beats and guitar tones.
‘Gentle Man’ is where the Ben Howard vocal comparisons come in. A gentle yet vibrant track, this is the songs that blends the whole record together. The EP closes with the outstanding ‘Red Flare, White Grain’. For a split second, it almost sounds reminiscent of Tracey Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’, eventually developing into a melodic combination of ascending vocals and upbeat rhythms – the perfect finale for such a stunning EP.
“Red Flare is one of the oldest tracks and we weren’t originally going to put it on the EP, but we still love the song so much; we didn’t want to leave it off. It’s one of my personal favorites. We tried to make this version a kind of six minute epic to end the EP with a crescendo” says Tom.
The EP was released on Monday at the official Blood to Gold EP launch at the Islington, London. The culmination of Tom’s hard work for the past year, it will no doubt result in further successes for the Falmouth sensation, as he looks forward to touring the EP with his multi-talented band and gaining legions of new fans in the near future.