I can’t tell you how delighted I am to have been able to arrange for folk legend Keith James to play at Billericay Rectory on Saturday 2 November 2019. Be sure to put this date in your diary. This is a guy I’ve loved for over 30 years. Keith really is a class act. He also happens to sing one of my all-time favourite songs!
The evening will feature a collection of the very best material from all of Keith’s concert tours. Songs by Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn and Cat Stevens together with Keith’s own dramatic and absorbing songs based on the poetry of Pablo Neruda, F G Lorca, William Blake, Dylan Thomas and Keith himself. This is an amazing opportunity to experience this finely tuned artist perform a masterclass of sublimely beautiful music.
Prototypical singer-songwriters of his calibre don’t fade away, they just get wiser.
Alan Cackett, Maverick Magazine
About Keith James
Keith has become one of the most active and inventive concert artists currently performing in the UK. A very accomplished sound man with a BBC Maida Vale background, he worked for more than a decade as a record producer (1991 – 2004), working on Albums with many of this Country’s profoundly talented musicians and writers.
Realising his definite preference for live performance and following a detailed study, 2001 witnessed Keith begin a UK wide tour of concerts based entirely on his love of the songwriter, Nick Drake. As Nick’s music had never been heard live by today’s music audience (he died in 1974) these concerts soon became a huge success; over the course of 17 years, Keith has played over 1500 of these shows in the UK, Ireland, Holland, Spain, Italy and France, all of Nick’ Colleges and almost every British acoustic music festival including Glastonbury.
On from this, Keith has performed many different concerts over the past decade, each one centres on studies and transcriptions of revered poets and writers and includes a significant amount of biographical and anecdotal material. The most notable of these are 2 CD albums and many successful concerts featuring the poetry of Lorca set to Keith’s music – The Gypsy Ballads 1927 and Poet in New York 1930. Other important projects are a CD album and concert tour featuring a collection of Poetry by Dylan Thomas and an ongoing busy schedule of bio-doc concerts spanning over 7 years featuring Keith’s interpretive approach to songs by Leonard Cohen.
Keith is fiercely independent and therefore his career has for many years, existed in a parallel universe, almost under wraps, esoteric and secretive. He has enjoyed very little radio exposure, he doesn’t fit easily into any music category, has never signed a recording or publishing deal. Despite this, he has released 13 CD Albums, all self-produced and self-published. The most recent from 2017 is Tenderness Claws which features all settings of poetry to music including work by Jack Kerouac, Pete Brown (1960s British beat poet) William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, Federico Garcia Lorca and some of Keith’s own. This time, and rather unplanned, he teamed up with the amazing producer / sound artist, Branwen Munn.
A double Album – Captured. The Best of Keith James – has been released this year featuring 33 songs taken from each of his Album releases over the past 30 years.
Keith lives in a writing retreat, way up in the hills of Powys, Wales and some months of each year in Andalucía. Since the mid ‘70s, his third home has been the Island of Naxos, Greece. He currently performs around 100 concerts per annum in Theatres, Art Centres and occasionally in other inspiring boutique spaces such as Galleries, Arts Cafes, Poetry and Literary festivals.
His brand new project of poetry set to music is the most exciting one yet! Keith has chosen to work with the astonishing work of Pablo Neruda, Maya Angelou, Kahlil Gibran, Frida Kahlo and Kate Tempest. Recording has already started; the Album will be released in March 2019 with concerts also planned. He is also currently compiling a volume of his own poetry to be published shortly along with some sporadic work on a rather surreal and somewhat comedic novel.
About House Gigs
A House Gig is a private invitation only to the Rectory from Paula and myself. You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to be considered for a place and I’ll get back to you to confirm your attendance. Maximum two tickets per person – spaces are limited! I usually receive more applicants than places but I do set up a reserve list.
Doors will open at 7.00 pm (or 6.45 pm if you’re so excited you can’t wait or you simply want more drinking time!) and Keith will play two sets from 7.30 pm (ish!). We’ll provide some hot food during the interval (with a veggie option) all for the amazing price of £15 (payable in advance, please – I’ll give you details about how to pay when your invitation is confirmed). There will also be a reasonably priced honesty bar available!
A House Gig is a cosy (!?) event and, whilst we provide seating for most people, some of you will be required to sit on the floor – we’ll provide a comfy cushion for you (we have plenty of these) – so you might want to dress accordingly! Just so you know, we always encourage folk to swap around for the second set!