James Walsh’s launch party gig at The Hospital Club (27-2-14)

I know I’ve been obsessing over James Walsh from Starsailor for a long time now, but who can blame me when he’s so talented?

The musician invited his fans to the launch party of his new album called Turning Point last Thursday. Twenty-somethings like me who are still in love with Starsailor songs, as well as others in their 40s who simply cannot resist a beautiful voice, were gathered to watch Walsh perform some new tunes along with some Starsailor classics. The intimate gig was held at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, only for the few who had pledged online to receive all kinds of goodies, from these concert tickets to a day at the studio with James!

Arriving at The Hospital Club, it was hard to believe that an acoustic rock gig could ever be held in such a posh place. The foyer on the ground floor and the lift that emitted music through its speakers had me thinking I was at a Hilton hotel. The velvet curtains in the room and a formally dressed waiter constantly passing by to hand out menus added to my surprise. As I was starting to get comfortable in my lounge chair, I realised that this was not going to be an ordinary show (where I would normally get pushed closer to the stage until I passed out).

Nevertheless, Walsh’s simplicity evened out the formality of my surroundings. The singer appeared on stage and thanked his fans who contributed into making this album, wishing that “hopefully no one will want their money back”! With his wife standing at the front row and people yelling at him “Why is your wife not drinking?” he picked up his guitar and started playing, after asking the waiter to get her some gin!

The musician described Turning Point as a “Sunday afternoon, soulful” kind of album, which made perfect sense; Walsh’s mellow but always confident voice was reinforced by the soothing melodies of his acoustic guitar, making this the perfect album for relaxation. He introduced Turning Point with the inspiring ballad Better Part of Me, which has already aired on BBC Radio 2. The playlist also included songs like Fading Grace and If I Had The Words, where the music along with Walsh’s inconceivable voice was able to touch the lowest depths of my soul.

Of course, some Starsailor songs could not be excluded from the setlist; the famous Silence Is Easy as well as my own favourite, Fever -which he hadn’t played in a while-, were enough to make me reminisce the good old rock and roll times.

James Walsh finished the gig with We Could Try, which he described as the only song with “Thursday-Friday-Saturday kind of vibes”, since it’s the most upbeat of the album. The singer had already played it in concerts in the past, so it was only fair that it’s finally included in Turning Point.

However, you’ll be happy to know that James hasn’t quit Starsailor altogether. He recently announced a concert as part of the Isle of Wight festival in June, where the band will be reunited on stage, while there are also chances of them writing new music some day.

As he told me back in December, “There will be something eventually. It’s just getting the timing right. We’ve built up a good legacy and a good reputation. But if we went out at the wrong time and didn’t sell anything, I think that would ruin it. We would have to make sure that it’s a big celebration of the band.”

James Walsh’s Turning Point is due for release on April 7.

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