James Elkington :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview

Looking for a thread connecting some of the year's best records, from Joan Shelley  to Wooden Wand's Clipper Ship,  Brokeback's  Illinois River Valley Blues to Michael Chapman's 50?  Look to guitarist James Elkington. For the last couple years, the UK-born, Chicago-based musician's been everywhere, playing with Steve Gunn,  Lî¦titia Sadier, Tweedy, Richard Thompson, and many more.  Now, Elkington adds another record to the list of this year's most engaging: his own lp, Wintres Woma.

Recorded over a handful of  days at the Wilco Loft, the album recalls Bert Jansch's California recordings and Kevin Ayers' most pastoral moods, subtly blending English chamber folk with rock and jazz touches. It's deceptively casual, revealing more humor and depth with each listen. Strange characters, seances, cursed week days, and astral musings make Elkington's songs, which showcase his  progressive pop tendencies ("Make It Up"), dreaminess ("Wading the Vapors)" and prove he can amble with the best of them ("Hollow in Your House," "Sister of Mine").

Elkington is as warm and thoughtful in conversation as he is on record. AD recently spent some time with him to discuss the community of likeminded songwriters he finds himself in and why now felt like the right time to strike out on his own. Wintres Woma is out Friday, June 30.

Aquarium Drunkard: Your resume is really something. You're all over the place.

James Elkington:   I definitely feel like part of a community right now, which is something that I feel like I always wanted to be actually. Before I moved to the States, I lived in London for about ten years. I was in bands and stuff and I never felt any sense of community there. It was very insular and people just had their heads down and were doing their own thing. I would buy all these records from Chicago and I'd see the same names come up all the time. I was like, "God, they all live in the same town and they all play on each other's projects. It just sounds so liberating and creative." Actually being here, it became everything that I wanted. It actually sort of transcends the music in a way. It seems to be a more general sensibility.

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