Glasgow Musicians' Biographies: Jamie Flett

Photo: jamie flett.

Defiant urban alt blues or melancholy acoustic folk or woozy DIY bluegrass that?s ?close enough for jazz, far away enough for folk.?

I play in the bar room and try to inhabit the characters whose stories can cast the spell that stops a sentence for a little while and can?t quite be shaken off when the bell rings and the doors get locked again. I also try to inhabit my own skin and memory and the stories I know, so that I can make these others here full of their own stories and memories know that I am laying something on the table for them, trying not to tell them any lies while not having to tell them the whole truth.

I play in the living room with instruments by the fire and I like it when a recording sounds like I played in the living room with instruments by the fire. But I also like it when a suspicion is created that the living room has slipped its moorings and is being carried on inexplicable currents to indistinct destinations where the shapes of the coffee table and the lamp lose their mundane character as they become foreign objects in different surroundings.

I am full of contradictions, just like the rest of us here, but I?m not trying to resolve them all now because the tension between each side of the story seems to be roughly where the truth of it resides.

I released my album ?Cold but Bright? with some help from my friends near the end of last year and was chosen as one of the runners-up in the King Tut's YourSound event at the beginning of this. I am conspiring to join the Glasgow label Big Rock Candy Records at the moment and have various live dates lined up in Glasgow over the next two or three months with the plan being to take my guitar further afield in the near future. As well as getting another album which is nearing completion out on the label when we find the time!

Cold But Bright

Jamie Flett

Cold But Bright is Jamie Flett?s first release having spent a long time listening and playing. The music assembled almost by stealth while living something of a double life working in the relative peace of a library by day and writing and recording in the time left over in the evenings.

It?s an album full of subtle melodies, memorable in a gentle, understated way. Some unexpected harmonies weave stories in songs like Ruby and Pearl that reverberate as if from a deep sea cave full of old pirates' bones and booty. By turns lamenting, uplifting then sometimes angry and frustrated or downright belligerent with a world and a way of life that fall under an occasionally jaundiced gaze, witness that of the observer in Only the Good Die Young.

However, there is love and even optimism to be found in this record despite some of the melancholy overtones and the sheer joy of making organised noise is apparent in one or two extended arrangements like the album opener Pond Life. The organic textures of acoustic instruments like accordion, mandolin, banjo and home-made percussion have a warmth reminiscent of the living room fire beside which they were often recorded.

Within the lyrics are questions that do not always have answers, characters like Roxy from blasted evenings in the city and observations on the mysterious tightrope walk of being a human. There is a search for some honesty without necessarily spelling anything out for you. These words are from someone who has been thinking.

With an undeniable nod to his undenied influences from across the pond Jamie brings in blues, bluegrass, country and gospel when he feels like it. The Scottish connection to some of the musical colours from that continent is an ever-present current here. You can hear echoes of Neil Young, Bill Callahan, Tom Waits, James Yorkston, Townes Van Zandt, Alasdair Roberts or John Martyn if you want to.

It?s a record to listen to over a cup of tea or a generous measure of whisky or on a drive off the beaten track without definite destination. One of those with enough layers that you don?t grow tired of it and throughout which you keep unearthing hidden moments you might have missed the first time you listened.

Download the album

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