At one point in our interview James Blackshaw casually stated, "I wouldn't call myself a great guitar player." He is modest and a gentleman and he probably believes to some extent that next to John Fahey or Robbie Basho or Jack Rose the term "great" carries the weight of high expectations. However, James Blackshaw is an exceptional guitar player, and an increasingly interesting recording artist as well. He is intent exploring his love and adoration for contemporary composition or new music or minimalism or whatever you would like to call it, and in the process, is broadening the scope of the 12-string acoustic guitar. Which is why people who describe his music like to use terms like "orchestral" and "symphonic." In his guitar there is drone, sustain, a church organ, bells, harmony, dissonance, silence and I think I even heard human voices.
It was a pleasure to have James at WFMU. This set was recorded in the unlikely confines of Studio A (the main broadcast studio, rather than the "live room") and that didn't seem to bother him at all. Thanks to Howard Wuelfing (and Dan Bodah) for helping to set this up, and also to Scott Williams and WFMU's unparalleled gear braintrust for engineering/equipment tips.