Over three decades as the unassuming but pivotal figure behind some of Scotland’s most iconic pop, Jim McCulloch delivers his debut solo album. When I Mean What I Say will be released on Violette Records on 21 May 2021. Lush and textured, delicate and intriguing, it is immersed in the melodic tapestries of Laurel Canyon but rooted in Jim’s life in his hometown of Glasgow.
Bursting onto the influential mid-80s Scottish scene with the BMX Bandits, making his mark with The Soup Dragons and then with Superstar, Jim’s albums as Green Peppers identified a songwriter committed to the detailed sculpting of melody and expression. His craft and presence, both as a composer and performer, are felt on his contributions to the critically lauded collaborations between Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan. And in summer 2020 the second Snowgoose album, his psyche-folk project with Anna Sheard, was met with considerable acclaim.
What Jim says: “I came to the realization that to be an Artist is to be free, to not worry about opprobrium. But I also realized that I have to pay the bills every month and that others have to live with and are reliant on the creative decisions I make. Andrew Loog Oldham nailed it when he described the Stones as being at the dividing line between Art and Commerce. It`s such a fine line to walk.
Violette Records are kindred spirits in the music world. Their ethos, aesthetic and generosity of spirit chime with me. Once I had finished the album, they were the only record company I sent it off to-the only record company I thought could do it justice.”
Frøkedal & Familien – Set Your Spirit Free
My thoughts at the moment are turning to Spring-new songs and new beginnings.
There`s a Norwegian artist I only recently discovered called Frøkedal. She has a great knack for creating warmth and beauty and boy does she know how to write a chorus! She has a new album coming out soon and this is the first track to be released from it. It`s uplifting and promises great things.
Day Graham – Both Sides Now
Davey Graham is one of the guitarists I love to listen to again and again as he never played by any rules and just went where the music took him. This is a tour de force version of the great Joni Mitchell song Both Sides Now. I love how it teeters on the edge of chaos, just managing to pull back from the edge, his backing band just barely managing to keep up with him.
Ron Wood – Far East Man
Ronnie Wood was/is the consummate side man. This is a song written by George Harrison and comes from Ronnie`s solo album, the imaginatively titled I`ve Got My Own Album To Do. It`s woozy and boozy due in no small part to his peerless slide guitar playing. Rock on, Ronnie x.
Cleo Sol – Young Love
Cleo Sol! Beautiful soul – optimistic, artful vocal arrangements. She speaks and sings very fluently in the key of life. Ghosts of Roberta/Syreeta. Very sweet to drink, but drink we must.
Jessica Pratt – Poly Blue
Jessica Pratt summons down the spirits of Laura Nyro and Eric Satie and lets them waltz diaphanously around the room. I`m so glad that this song exists. The whole album is just brilliant.
Monster Rally – Sister Owls
Monster Rally get it. There`s a whole musical universe that was created before Rock and still exists quite happily knowing that we never need to hear Stairway To Heaven or any of its antecedents. It is short, but quality over quantity every time I think.
Astrud Gilberto – Take it Easy My Brother Charlie
Astrud Gilberto takes on Jorge Ben and pure nails it to the mast. An ear worm of mammoth proportions. A song that you knew must exist somewhere -you just hadn`t heard it yet.
Phil Cordell – Red Lady
My last track is by Phil Cordell. This should have been a hit in 1969 or whenever the hell it came out. It has everything in it that hits in 1969 had, with extra bits sprinkled on top. It`s an absolute belter of a song from start to finish!