Bunch Of Fives: James Leonard Hewitson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Hartlepool maker of music, James Leonard Hewitson has dropped his acoustic EP, which features all the songs that you know and love in their purest form, as well as a couple of new ones thrown in.

The quality craftsmanship of the songs means they don’t lose anything from the transition from indie-rock. Instead, the warm and reverby room ambience of the recording and the comparable sparseness of the sound give them a more intimate and tender feel and allow James’ witty and observant lyrics, as well as his lo-fi, Wes Anderson-esque charm, to shine.

Here, James tells us about his top five favourite acoustic tracks with a bunch of fives…

I’m excited to show you my new acoustic EP, recorded by Josh Ingledew ‘round his! Naturally, the EP sounds like it was recorded in a room in someone’s house; equally, we weren’t really trying to do anything fancy, just a few acoustic songs in a room with a bit of embellishment here and there. Josh added some slide guitar in ‘She Makes The Rain Go Away’ and I added backing vocals across most of the songs too. Below are 5 ‘acoustic’ tracks that inspire me.

The Jam – That’s Entertainment
I think it is probably the most iconic acoustic track from my childhood, where I was discovering bands, pop culture and all that. I barely listen to it these days, but when the question was asked of what my top 5 acoustic tracks are, this has got to be up there for how clear, direct and brilliant it is.

David Bowie – Starman
I don’t know if this qualifies as an ‘acoustic’ track due to the arrangement, but the acoustic guitar certainly is the first instrument I think of when I play through this incredible song in my head. The song probably needs no introduction to most readers, but perhaps how well the acoustic guitar leads this track is something that could be talked about a little more.

Herman Düne – I Wish That I Could See You Soon
I know very little about the artist as a close friend has shown this to me just recently. However, I think it is one of the purest and most endearing romantic songs I have ever heard, with the right dose of fun too. The initial instrumentation is really chill and inviting, then some mariachi-type trumpets give the song a big lift and another enjoyable angle. I would also recommend the entire album, which is called ‘Giant’.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Music For a Found Harmonium
Anyone who has seen all of Napoleon Dynamite will know this one straight away, but if you haven’t, well, I guess you won’t know it in the way I do. I have a nostalgic bias for any pieces of music from films I loved as a kid, and this is certainly one of them. Interestingly, the piece was written on a harmonium that Simon Jeffes found in a backstreet in Kyoto, Japan. 

Devendra Banhart – Nice People
This album is really eerie, and this is probably my favourite tune from it. ‘You certainly are nice people’ is repeated over and over, to the point where I think about positive public image, and where that can sometimes end up being a total ruse. The album is called Oh Me Oh My… and I would recommend checking out the whole thing. It is largely just acoustic guitar and voice, and therefore probably the most apt recommendation for the question asked!


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