On Tuesday night, Irish singer-songwriter Gavin James was back in New York City, playing the Bowery Ballroom for his first show in the city in almost a year and a half. James made this a decidedly intimate show, playing solo on stage with just himself and an acoustic guitar for the majority of the 75 minute set. His setlist spanned his entire catalogue of work, with songs from his most recent album, Only Ticket Home, all the way back to the first single that pushed his part-time pub-playing gig into a real musical career, “Say Hello.”
Throughout the night, James was candid and humorous with the crowd, detailing stories of his career and even cracking jokes at fans in the back of the room who were talking over the performance before he played one of our personal favorite singles, the ever-delicate “Hard To Do.”
What stuck out most about the performance itself was how true James’ voice was to his recordings – every note and bit of his tone was as true live as it was on his records, making you feel as though you were watching a recording session in the studio with him. As I was downstairs nearing the end of the show, James was playing his single “Cigarette Break,” and the sound over the venues speakers was so pure that it was indiscernable from the studio record itself.
With each of Gavin’s songs, you could tell they were written from a very real, very personal life experience and perspective. He noted that he plays each of his songs for his parents before ever deciding if he’ll go on to release the record, and that level of personal investment is evident in every word and melody he writes.