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James Blunt - Back to Bedlam

Review: Jack Foley

WHEN James Blunt sings 'I have seen peace, I have seen pain...' and later 'I have seen birth, I have seen death', during the heartfelt ballad, Cry, you'd better believe it.

The talented new singer-songwriter is speaking from personal experience, having lived one of the most extraordinary lives of any musician.

A former soldier, his Army career saw him stationed in Kosovo as part of NATO’s peacekeeping force, before he then spent time protecting the Queen on horseback and the Queen Mother, while she lay in state.

Yet, music remained his passion and he never gave up on the dream of one day becoming a fully fledged artist.

Hence, a week after leaving the Army, James had secured himself a manager, and three weeks later, a publishing deal was inked and he soon began courting the attention of Linda Perry.

The rest, as they say, is history, for Blunt has now delivered a breathtaking debut album which smacks of the personal experiences - both tragic and uplifting - that have shaped his life to date.

Cry, especially, is a deeply personal track that contains as strong an emotional resonance as you are likely to hear this year.

Yet it is indicative of the quality of the tracks throughout most of the rest of the long-player.

Current single, High, for instance, talks of an all-consuming, passionate love and beautiful dawns, painting beautiful images of both, and delivered in the unmistakeable vocal style that we're sure to hear a lot more of in the future.

It is quickly followed by the equally beautiful You're Beautiful, a breezy piece of shimmering acoustic brilliance which takes the listener on a heartbreaking journey through an unattainable romance, complete with a memorable guitar riff.

Strong melodies permeate throughout Wisemen, which includes a genuinely catchy chorus, while the hammond organ gets a workout in Tears and Rain, another track which stretches the delightful Blunt voice.

And the strong emotional core is also painfully exposed in the piano-based heart-breaker, Goodbye My Lover, which resonates with the pain and confusion of a failed relationship.

It's little surprise to find that Back to Bedlam was recorded in Los Angeles with the help of super-producer, Tom Rothrock (who has worked with Beck, Elliott Smith, Badly Drawn Boy), for this contains much of the songwriting pedigree of all three of those artists.

It is a masterful debut and one which you mustn't allow to pass you by.

Click here to find out more about James Blunt



Track listing:
1. High
2. You’re Beautiful
3. Wisemen
4. Goodbye My Lover
5. Tears And Rain
6. Out Of My Mind
7. So Long Jimmy
8. Billy
9. Cry
10. No Bravery

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