James Hook

Hailing from the coastal seaside town of Poole in Dorset singer/songwriter James Hook has been working with local musician and producer Jordan Ayriss to bring his EP ‘Unlived Dreams’ to life. The first optimistic single from the EP “Our Life (How Hard Could It Be?)” is released on 6th February with the full EP arriving on all digital platforms on 6th April. James is a traditional style artist playing a folky finger-picked acoustic guitar; creating songs from personal experiences including aspects of living, from detachment and loss to the unpredictable landscape of life ahead. He states his key influences are “Iron and Wine”, “Ryan Adams”, “The Velvet Underground”, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen and a host of others including the great Bob Dylan.

James says he accidentally started a fire in his student room back in 2015, which led to him busking on the streets for a couple of Summer’s to pay for the uninsured damage. He then left university in 2016 and sadly his music aspirations were put on the back burner because of the pressures of the working world. Thankfully he picked up his guitar and started performing again last August. The lengthy break from the music is reflected in the song “Unlived Dreams”, which eventually became the EP title. The EP opens with a question? “Our Life, (How Hard Could it Be)” and details the struggles we all face during our daily existence, but with a positive stance that despite this we can achieve our goals. Here James introduces us to his delicate finger-picked guitar style which accompanies his lovely storytelling vocal, before bringing in some nicely added harmonica towards the end.

James Hook

“Unlived Dreams” is a song instrumented from loss, not of a loved one but of passion to do something which you are prevented from doing because of a domestic or financial situation. James has written a song here that each and every one of us can associate with. The lyrics are deep and meaningful with some elaborate musical ornamentation. Track three “Bluebell” meanders along through a proverbial garden of delicate flowers delivering some heartfelt thought-provoking lyrics. “Grateful Autumn Blues” shows a completely different side of James’s music with (as the titles suggests); some beautifully crafted blues with acoustic and electric slide guitars competing for our attention, though in my head I could hear this played on a resonator guitar. At 5 minutes 51 seconds “You My Love” is by far the longest track of this collection and ends the EP on a high, with this beautifully crafted tune that asks the question “What became of You’? The tune combines all the great ingredients that James has shown in the first four tracks with a very simple but effective composition.

At this point in time I have not seen James Hook play live and these tunes certainly give me an incentive to make a date free in my diary to get along to one of his gigs. The venue must be a respectful Village Hall or a folk club where the music is intently listened to and appreciated. In-between songs I visualize James giving us the background to these wonderful lyrical compositions and bringing them much more to life.

Track Listing
Our Life (How Hard Could it Be)
Unlived Dreams
Grateful Autumn Blues
You My Love


Contact: jhook1993@outlook.com

Words by David Chinery (Chinners).

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