James discuss upcoming album Be Opened By The Wonderful and upcoming sold out Sheffield City Hall show
and live on Freeview channel 276
James recently announced that they would be releasing a new double album titled Be Opened By The Wonderful which is set to be released on 9 June, 2023. The album and the tour that comes before it will feature the band's most loved and rare tracks reimagined with a live 22 piece orchestra as well as an 8 piece gospel choir.
I spoke with Jim about their 40th anniversary and the new orchestral album Be Opened By The Wonderful, and he had this to say about the new album.
“What gets me from this part of the experience, in a way we’ve taken a bit of a back step where it isn’t all about us. It’s amazing to be able to sit there and just listen to it unfold.”
“This isn’t just about us, it’s about the orchestra and the choir. There’s quite a few songs where I don’t play anything at all or a minor role. They taking the song to another level, cranking it up… it’s almost like they’re turbo-driving those emotions and feelings.
“To be part of it is incredible. To be part of something that you’d created many moons ago, and now listening to it in some amazing venues. It’s just a real treat"
“As a songwriter as much as a musician, it’s a treat because you’re one tiny step removed from it. These are inherently Joe Duddell’s interpretations of our songs.”
Joe Duddell is a composer, musician and conductor from Manchester. Commonly known for his work with the likes of Elbow and New Order, Joe arranged and conducted this latest body of work from the Mancunian stalwarts, it’s safe to say that he has more than done the album and the band, by proxy, ample justice. A point which Jim Glennie is keen to get across.
“We’ve let Joe have a fair free reign on this. He played a big part in choosing the songs to work on. It had to be things that he was inspired by and he had a vision for. It wasn’t like we were grabbing the setlist. Joe picked some of the obscure tracks, as well as some of the big tunes. But not all of the big tunes.”
Confidence in Joe’s capability to not only curate but create a new interpretation of songs that James’ fans hold in such beloved esteem has undoubtedly resulted in an incredibly rich, expansive and dare I say enhanced take on the songs you may already know and love so fondly.
“It was up to him (Joe) primarily, and even that kind of outside overview of it is such a joy. I can’t believe that this is the second time we’ve done this now, and that we’re back here again. We’re ever so lucky.”
Anticipation for their tour was at such a level that it had completely sold out within several hours of going on sale. But it comes as little surprise that demand was so high, James can safely be described as one of Britain’s most enduring and successful stories.
“It’s amazing to be able to sit there and just listen to it unfold”
Listen to the full interview with James’ Jim Glennie on the Chris Talks Music podcast, which you can currently subscribe to for free at: https://anchor.fm/chris-talks-music
Having released sixteen studio albums, which have sold over 25 million copies, alongside a recent run of Top 5 albums there’s no shadow of a doubt that the band's golden era is very much in the present.
All The Colours Of You, released back in 2021, was the most critically acclaimed and well received album in years, despite being preceded by the likes of Living In Extraordinary Times in 2018, and Girl At The End Of The World, which only narrowly missed out on the top spot to Adele in 2016.
Be Opened By The Wonderful is not only an apt namesake for this new double album but also a fitting tribute or should that be celebration of the enduring togetherness of the band. Through the ups and downs of years gone by to embracing one another as unique individuals, seeing the differences as strengths, James may have hit one rather large landmark but there seems to be the fervour the capacity to continue onwards.
Speaking on the 40th anniversary of the band’s first ever show, way back at The Hacienda with Big Country on 17th November, 1983, Jim had this to say:
“Has it really been 40 years? In some ways it feels like yesterday and, in others, many lifetimes. A family of brothers and sisters, all willing to support each other musically and emotionally. Uniquely challenging, always pushing ourselves into the new and taking risks collectively and individually, looking for transcendence.”
The band’s arena tour in 2021 was their biggest selling and most successful to date, proving that as they approach four decades as a band, JAMES show no signs of slowing down.
James have also just released Love Make A Fool, a brand new track taken from Be Opened By The Wonderful, their new double album in celebration of their 40th Anniversary, released via Virgin Music on 9 June. You can watch the video below.
James will be performing at the City Hall, Sheffield, on Thursday 4th May, 2023 as part of their Lasted UK tour.
For tickets and further information, go to: https://james.tmstor.es/
James consists of the following members: Tim Booth, Jim Glennie, Saul Davies, Adrian Oxaal, David Baynton-Power, Mark Hunter, Andy Diagram, Chloe Alper and Deborah Knox-Hewson.
The rest of the band’s tour will take place over the course of May in the following locations:
Fri 05 Birmingham Symphony Hall
Sun 07 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Tue 09 Manchester Apollo
Wed 10 Manchester Apollo
Fri 12 Blackpool Opera House
Sat 13 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall
Mon 15 Bath Forum
Wed 17 London Royal Albert Hall