MUSIC: Starsailor sails to Southampton

The songs have been pouring out of James Walsh from Starsailor who plays The Brook in Southampton on April 7 (tickets on 023 8055 5366; £10 advance; £12 door).

“I feel much more like a singer-songwriter now, living it and breathing it”, he says.

After almost a decade fronting Starsailor, James has now emerged as a singer-songwriter in his own right, with an acoustic guitar and some big, new tunes to travel wherever the road may take him.

Towards the end of Starsailor’s decade of success, he’d started playing acoustic gigs to promote the band abroad and started to enjoy the new found freedom of playing without a safety net.

“The great thing about the band is it’s a comfort thing,” he explains. “You know what the set is, you know what’s going to happen, and you know they’re there to back you up. With the acoustic stuff, there’s this whole new sense of freedom. You get stuck in that album-tour-promotion cycle. Now I can have beats on laptops, experiment with synthesizers or strings sections, write or work with all sorts of people in all sorts of different countries or environments. I feel much more like a singer-songwriter now, living it and breathing it.”

Just over a year after taking the decision to put the band on extended hold, James has barely looked back. He’s toured with Sheryl Crow – playing to more mainstream but “tremendously appreciative” audiences than he ever did with Starsailor’s indie following; and written with Suzanne Vega after inviting her to sing with him in New York and recording the Live At The Top Of The World EP with Norway’s Tromsø Chamber Orchestra in the closest major settlement to the North Pole.