2020 album. Singer songwriter. Also available on CD.
Jim Elkington, Chicago based guitarist and songwriter moved to the United States in the late ’90s from his native England with the intention of making himself absolutely essential to the Chicago music scene. Twenty years later he’s contributed to a staggering volume of records and shows and projects both in Chicagoland (see Jeff Tweedy; Tortoise; Eleventh Dream Day; Brokeback) and far from it (see Richard Thompson; Laetitia Sadier; Michael Chapman; Steve Gunn; Joan Shelley; Nap Eyes). The 2017 release of the wonderful ‘Wintres Woma’, his first so-called solo album, seemed to be a logical, healthy respite from assisting with the creative needs of others that would allow him to serve his own. The record certainly sounded as though James found in it every reason to be satisfied—among much else, it effectively reconciled his personal and musical mongreltude as a child of Britain and a man of America—and thus could return his focus to bettering other folks’ records.
2020 and now Jim is releasing ‘Ever-Roving Eye’ which is even more elaborate, shrewd, thoughtful, and confessional than its predecessor. Though it sounds like a line culled from a murderous Child ballad, the title has everything to do instead with the slipperiness of satisfaction, and the equal parts virtue and vice that is being your own mule and driver. The album features previous collaborators Nick Macri (bass) and Macie Stewart (violin). The album also includes new collaborators Lia Kohl (cello), Spencer Tweedy (drums), The Weather Station's Tamara Lindeman (vocals), and Paul Von Mertens (Brian Wilson) on woodwinds.
The latest track off ‘Ever-Roving Eye’ is called “Late Jim’s Lament.” Its title has a double meaning, alluding to never being on time but also dying before getting to everything a person is setting out to do. “No matter how I drive I know I can’t out-drive the hearse, ’cause it’s too late in my mind and getting later all the time,” Elkington sings. Like his other work, “Late Jim’s Lament” manages to conjure up folk traditions, psychedelic guitar sojourns, and Chicago’s idiosyncratic rock classicists all at once.
The album’s lead single/video, “Nowhere Time,” is a call to take up arms against procrastination, and features some of Elkington’s most daring guitar-wrangling. “A more cosmic acquaintance of mine once told me that when your life is going in the direction you want it to, it’s the universe’s way of telling you that you are in the place you’re meant to be,” Elkington says. “Does that sound likely? Not at all, but the song asks the question anyway…” The track’s accompanying video, directed by Tim Harris, features James, Spencer Tweedy on drums, and Nick Macri on upright bass.
Tracklisting: Nowhere Time / Sleeping Me Awake / Leopards Lay Down / Moon Tempering / Rendlesham Way / Late Jim's Lament / Carousel / Go Easy on October / Ever-Roving Eye / Much Master