James Riley at Green Note
Up-and-coming Anglo-American folk pop singer-songwriter James Riley takes to the stage at Camden’s intimate Green Note tonight to promote forthcoming LP Transatlantica. The gifted musician is in good spirits, evident through his great rapport with both fellow band members and the audience.
Introducing the set with the newly released New York Minute, Riley strums an acoustic electric guitar while the violinist pitches in with gradual bowing, echoing a Celtic influence, intense, atmospheric and provocative. Announcing the backing multi-instrumentalist as a “regular Monday Renaissance man”, the singer tells of the time he moved to Nashville, Tennessee on a whim, joking how English cyclists were “doubly exotic over there”. The song – titled after the Southern US state – takes on cheerier notes; as Riley sings the lyric Tennessee, his strong vocals are evident, showcased again in the following track, Lightning Strikes, described by the artist as a “murder ballad”. Riley knows just how to capture the crowd with funny life stories, simultaneously performing with an ease that is found only in the most confident of musicians. No Words takes us away once again to green pastures with its Celtic vibes, the violinist disconnectedly bowing on his instrument – a nice accompaniment to Riley’s music – while the bassist riffs solo, bringing to mind Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan, delectably smooth. Riley funnily backs further and further away from the microphone at the finish, giving the effect of a delayer, joking that he can’t afford one. Tuning his guitar, the performer returns to reflect on his Nashville trip, and the famous outlaw era of the 60s.
Green Note is the ideal choice for tonight’s lush acoustic set, both Riley and the band performing well together in its warm candle-lit space. The final songs played from his upcoming album reiterate the singer’s talent as a genuinely gifted and self-assured vocalist and songwriter, and he finishes off the night with the fast-versed Lay Me Down from 2013’s eponymously titled EP.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit James Riley’s website here.
Watch the video for New York Minute here: