Every so often a whisper is needed to stop the spinning world and in that fraction of time we look up and lean in, ear first-hopefully to do more than “hear” noise. Dublin, Ireland’s Gavin James is an absolute powerhouse of explosive whispers that rightfully command the ears to actually “listen” rather than just “hear.” He gives everything he loves about his well-earned place as a masterful storyteller on the stage with his “Live at Whelans” album released in the U.S. 6 January 2015. His playful navigation through the 12 tracks captivate the audience with material that’s never been previously released with the exception of “Say Hello.” He also covers “Book of Love” that was previously covered by Peter Gabriel and originally by The Magnetic Fields.
His last minute decision to include that live cover was brilliant. Although his original works need no hand to hold, his “Book of Love” reaches past the hands and spins the heart with an eloquent, welcoming presence. He invites you into his world and allows you to almost read his mind…but most will leave definitely being able to empathize with his heart.
His vocal range and ease of launching into places we all hope to fly, lends wings with ease and with whispered grace, somehow manages to confound us musically while his humility and eagerness wrap around us, delivering a certain comfort. His effortless approach is so original with such honesty and is reminiscent of some of the most legendary and influential singer/songwriters of all time. Gavin’s generosity as an artist is rare. He seems to be on par with the energetic audience and respectfully reciprocates his appreciation to do what brings him joy while thanking the audience for spending time in his time.
His style is understated and that’s the best way to complement those who do not need the “help” some other over-produced artists require. There is a floating truth inside the notes he gifts in all the right places. As he sings and plays guitar, we witness the gentle filling in of notes in colors his voice manages to paint and polish. If you could see what I hear, you look closely and listen intently as he fills the notes again and again-making them whole if ever they broke when set free from the heart.
Gavin releases the rooted heart in his deliverance of material live. This offering is the silent “weather” that encircles his tone. In those moments of plugging in onstage, he extends beyond whatever the ticket price-point may be by openly singing the words in his diary. He has the ability to unlock the listener’s hurt-lockers.
What happens after that is a privileged listen and the unspoken attachment to clarity and beauty that his natural abilities use to speak better than most….and you know who you are.