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James Elson launched his solo career with the release of Silent Observer on Odd Job Music on January 18. The release marked the latest exciting signpost on a long and winding road of musical discovery for James, appropriately for someone who grew up on Merseyside after being born down south. Formative years in Liverpool were where the musical heritage and passion of the people left an indelible mark on the young Elson. Living in the city heavily influenced his outlook on art and music and it continues to do so to this day.
The next stage of his journey took him east across the Pennines to Leeds to study music, attracted by the chance to sample another city with a vibrant cultural life and once his studies were complete, James stayed on to develop his musical career.
He’s well known to audiences in the city and beyond as one half of ENGINE, a band that started out as a psychedelic rock outfit but eventually morphed into an electronic production duo.
It was the release of a well received EP, Cucumber Water, that brought ENGINE to the attention of Leeds’ promoters Odd Job and they were so impressed they moved quickly to get the band onto the line-up of one their gigs. The relationship was maintained, plans to work together were knocked about and it was Odd Job who subsequently gave Elson his first solo gig in November, a support slot in a sellout event featuring another act hailing from Merseyside, The Tea Street Band. The next step was to collaborate on the release of some of the songs James has been working on as a side project over the last few years.
As promoters, Odd Job have strong connections with Wales, having brought a number of Welsh language bands over to play in Leeds and these contacts have helped secure a distribution deal with Cardiff-based PYST. PYST have established a great track record in helping acts from Wales get their music out to a global audience, Elson became the first English based act to benefit from their assistance.
James draws his influences from artists such as Sparklehorses, George Harrison, Gene Clark, Big Star and Harry Nilsson, so from Nilsson we get Elson. And you get ‘SILENT OBSERVER’, a track that immediately got a spin on Gideon Coe’s show BBC 6 Music. BBC West Yorkshire Introducing presenter Alan Raw also played it and described it as ‘absolutely superb..a truly hypnotic!’.
The brilliant follow-up, Wandering, will be available on all digital platforms from March 29th.
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