James Bennett would make 10 singles and release them all consecutively if he could, every song he writes is treated with the same amount of respect, time, and effort; no song gets left behind.
After three albums, countless recording sessions, and hours of tour travel, singer-songwriter and musician, James Bennett has released his latest single ‘Beg Lie Steal Borrow’ which entered the iTunes singer-songwriter chart at number one.
In preparation for his fourth album ‘Life & Life Only’, the single explores the classic folky style of Bennett’s music mixed with a storytelling element narrating life’s ups and downs.
Particularly for Bennett those ups and downs came last year with Covid-19 wiping out live music, gigs, and entertainment.
Unintentionally his latest single became a reflection of the year 2020 and the rollercoaster experience he had.
“I had this tour which was all ticketed, followed by another two weeks of gigs in Airlie Beach,” Bennett said.
“I got all my new merch ready, ordering the minimum which is 500 at a time, I paid for everything and had just enough money to get to Airlie Beach.
Once the venues started closing, Bennett said he was forced to make the long trip home with no profit to show, and a whole heap of unsold merch and CDs.
“I did a paid live stream at home which actually ended up doing better than I thought it would, but playing to a phone in my living room as if I was at a gig was very strange.”
Bennett used the rest of the year to finish off many lyrics and songs he hadn’t previously had time for, which helped him create his new album.
“For most albums, I just write songs one by one, and so that way every song gets all the love it deserves—so when it comes time to record, I have songs to pick from,” he said.
“I always try to put songs in an order where it keeps listeners interested; so there might be an upbeat heavier song and then a chilled laid back one afterwards.
“If someone decided to listen to this album front to back it would be a journey.”
He said a certain song on his new album explored a different genre with drums and a bullet microphone which created a distorted, heavy blues vibe.
“My friend Nick Saxon helped me produce this album and every session he brought these new ideas and suggestions that I had never really thought of,” Bennett said.
“He helped me create this heavier part in the song, which is just so different from my other songs—it has this different flare and conveys the emotion, this whole album is definitely more me.
“I still don’t think I have found what works yet, I don’t know what I want on a recording, but this is probably as close as I will get to being super happy with my sound.”
Bennett grew up listening to artists like Paul Kelly and Bob Dylan, where songs were written with a purpose, to hold meaning and to tell stories.
Using this inspiration, Bennett tries to spark emotion, feeling and memory within his lyrics where listeners can interpret their own meaning.
“This might not necessarily be what the song is about, but that’s okay because I want the song to be a different experience for everyone.”
Bennett has lived in the Newcastle area for seven years now and has gotten to know the range of venues that the city offers, with his favourite being Lizotte’s in Lambton.
“I like that people are forced to listen, they go there to have a meal and watch a show, not like a pub where you feel a little like background noise,” Bennett said.
“Lizotte’s has given me a lot of awesome opportunities, and they have this special personable way they treat artists.”
Bennett said he hoped to perform and tour a lot more this year with a few more singles to be released in coming months, and the new album expected in April.
“Growing up, my family and I would sit down and listen to a Bob Dylan album from start to finish and comment on it,” he said.
“I have such good memories of doing that, and I would love to know that someone would do the same with mine.”
For more information on Bennett’s newest single, album, merch or tour dates visit his website at www.jamesbennettmusic.com.