When Brian Eno pipes up as one of your fans, you know you’re onto a good thing.
Manchester-based multi-instrumentalist James Holt, with his deep blend of alternative rock and folk, is set to release his second EP ‘Sanguine On the Rocks’ on Friday 29 April 2016.
Make no mistake, this intense new material is not set to a template – it’s more a living circus of intoxicating blues, modern rock, vibrant orchestration, dour and sharp monologue, buckled in the 23 year-old’s Mancunian spirit: the EP’s theme a collection of his own ghosts, despair and redemption.
Holt has been writing since he was 11 years old (playing piano since age 6), primarily classical and jazz improvisation before graduating to songs and riffs. James Holt’s first performance at 19 was for a local songwriting competition, which he won, for Booths Music in Bolton. And although James was born with bilateral hearing loss, he’s not stopped since, taking his solo show so far as The Royal Albert Hall’s most recent Music For Youth Proms 2015.
“The power of the combination of music and words is incredible: create worlds, play God, visit other stars, see things through the eyes of a pebble or a mountain. The most astonishing thing about the song (or music or art) is that it has the ability to change someone’s mind,” says James.
James Holt fixes notes together as if solving a complex mathematical puzzle, songwriting the ultimate form of self-expression, and its solution to proffer a platform for thought, push boundaries and capture precise snippets of time.
Possessing a wealth of melody and a fresh approach to honing his sound, ‘Sanguine On The Rocks’ is a charming six-track release epitomising the solo record in the truest sense, Holt having composed all its songs, played every instrument, also recording and mixing the EP himself.
23 year-old James, who has already attracted the attention of Brian Eno, has produced yet another a collection of songs that belie his age. Inspiring peers of all levels and ages, James Holt’s 2014 track ‘Whatever Happened to John?’ was handpicked by Brian Eno for Curators Choice inclusion at art event NOISE Festival the same year. World-renowned producer Eno hailed the track as “brisk, funny, exciting. Great drumming. This track feels fresh and exciting to listen to”.
James’ debut EP ‘In the Face of It All’ was released in March 2015, receiving accolades and radio airplay from numerous BBC Introducing shows as well as Radio X, BBC Manchester, BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio 2, and much airplay from KCRW.
James Holt plays the following live shows:
12 April – Whiskey Jar, Manchester
21 April – The Railway, Didsbury
29 April – Kings Arms, Salford *EP launch*
12 May – Castlefield Food And Drink Festival, Manchester
1 June – Sage Gateshead, Newcastle