Once touted in the same breath as global megastars Coldplay, in the early 2000s, the distinctive vocal of James Walsh and the emotive, mellow-indie sound of his band Starsailor was pervasive across radio.

With hit singles like UK top ten hits ‘Alcoholic’ and ‘Silence Is Easy’, Walsh was on the crest of a wave yet by 2009, having faded from the limelight, the band had called it a day. Today, Starsailor have been back for several years, but Walsh also tours solo, delivering a mix of Starsailor hits and his own material from a series of solo albums including his most recent, 2021’s ‘Everything Will Be Ok’.

“‘Love Is Here’ is going back a few years, but it’s nice to resurrect a few of the songs that have slipped out of the set over years, and great to see so many young people in the crowd,” Walsh says of touring Starsailor’s best-known record recently.

“The line between my Starsailor stuff and solo stuff is quite blurred to be honest. I know people want to see the Starsailor songs as well when I play solo, so I try to mix it up as much as I can, something like 50/50. It’s a sort of evolving process, as you get to know the solo songs that sit well alongside the Starsailor songs. The fanbase for the solo stuff is not huge but it has grown and grown, and there are people who sing along to both.”

“My solo stuff is more introspective, more singer-songwriter. The band has everyone’s different elements. I love Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Jackson Browne, Carol King. Carol King is a benchmark for me, if I can write a song anywhere close to her songwriting… That’s the unreachable goal.”

“As soon as we finish our tours we’ll be going back into the studio as Starsailor,” he continues. “There are enough songs there for both another solo album and another band album. Weirdly, when the band was doing really well I felt I didn’t have the time to write songs. Now there’s a bit more time, and writing is a much more constant process.”

“Everytime I get a few spare hours I try to write a song. I’m a firm believer that once an idea starts to form, I finish that idea, and if it’s not good enough, move onto the next one. I can’t work if I think the next part of something has to be the best thing ever. I look at it afterwards instead, I find it more satisfying.”

“The solo stuff will continue to be introspective and emotional, and I’m a bit braver with the sentimentality. The rest of Starsailor like there to be a bit more of an edge to things. I mean we’re never going to be Massive Attack, but they like a bit of bite.”

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Crowded House and they’ve been quite a big influence on the band’s new material. One of my favourite songs is ‘Pineapple Head’, because of the way its verse is so angular and abrasive, and then it opens out into this beautiful chorus.”

“They also go to show that if you have a good live show and you look after your fans with new material consistently enough, you don’t necessarily need to be all over the TV and radio to get people out to the shows. I don’t want to sound too overblown or whatever, but it’s about staying in people’s hearts to a certain degree.”


Write A Comment