Is that the rain on

by Jack James

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Looks like hours away from rain Looks like hours away from rain Looks like hours away from rain Let's go walking anyway Let's go walking anyway Let's go walking anyway Don't want to stay Don't want to stay Don't want to stay
A feeling of numbness, you're asking why It's not a lack of motivation nor a willingness to try So come on let's try, let's analyse, you're good at that, let's do that Another weakness to magnify, you'll enjoy that, focus on the facts You've put a man on the case, a letter in the drawer A first-class detective, now he's on your floor He's on his hands and knees, could you speak up please Your words could be taken differently depending where you put the emphasis in the sentence See, you hadn't thought of this Your silent protector, the soldier with his pen He's writing home to see if you'll meet him once again Though it's not what is seems, if you heard him speaking You would see that his words taken on duality of meaning And the schemes that he's scheming may take you to places That will make you nervous and change your perspective
You like the books that I've read and talking about what they meant You wear the colours I like, in the fabrics and fashions all twirling in the night Should I like you now? Given half a chance, I'd watch you dance You like that band I know, mate's the guitarist, got tickets to the show See you there, the one that stares You've heard of that director before, liked his last work, can't wait for more Yeah, we must be a match But it don't work like that Yeah, I think we met long ago, I'm trying to remember, tell me more Yeah, it's all coming back, you can call me Jack
I need a new game to play I need some rules Your game was old, I threw the board away We need some help, ages 8-12 I'll be the shoe, you'll be the car And something else, we need a sense of self That's right you said: shoe and car You roll the dice, I will move your piece I know exactly where you are Why can't we play nice, the shoe and the car? I don't need a throw, I don't need a clue I just need one guess I'm ready to solve, I think it was you In your room with your brain What are we to do, the car and the shoe? Our moves are squares on a map What are we to do, we are trapped
Someone's gonna have to write this down again I've been living in three year stretches and next month this one ends I can't remember what's been going through my head one week to the next And I wrote it down but it doesn't help I can't relate to myself six months ago, or probably six months from now Turn it over, pass it here, don't let it slip away What have we here? Your secret identity For acting out lives in your mind Tell me, does it help? Or do you just second guess yourself? Keep your head down, just try to get by Your invention never made it and I think that you know why You play your games when you're alone I wish that I could be as happy as you seem
I wrote a speech today, and in it I said everyone was gonna be OK I gripped the microphone tight, and I cleared my throat before I sprayed out my lies I raised my arms above, and accepted the admiration and love, from the crowd And as I passed through them, their praise was thundering in my ears, but then Did I say something right? I think so Did I say something right? I... Is everything gonna be alright? No I'm going to march today, I'm going to march until everything is OK And as he parades through the crowd, I'll have my chance to say I'll tell him what I have to say, I'll tell him what I have to say Did I do something right? I think so Did I do something right? I... Is everything gonna be alright? Is everything gonna be alright?
In the blue grass I'll find them all Entrenched in the marina, enclosed by a fence Bathed in a light of various wavelengths They slip through your hand in some kind of sequence Fibonacci-esque but no to the Nth If there's a natural base then I guess that makes sense They weren't built for up here They weren't built for up here They weren't built for up here they weren't built at all Flying through the blue grass in spite of all the odds Moving in formation, separated in squads But this is not an army, there is not a boss
I once had detectives at my bedside Reading me questions in a language they had yet to decide I did not answer, I could not read their papers The cliché "run and hide" was here just good advice I was young then, I did not know my rights They knocked over my lampshade to my surprise They shone a light in my eyes, so they could see the lies I glanced towards the door, lampshade on the floor They exited quickly, just as they had came They wanted something, I gave them a name The name was made up, so was the address Fiction can take the blame, I started to get dressed
You've been staring out of windows of buildings on the 16th floor Looking for more But there is not a phone call you can make, or a letter you can write to make things better overnight Though you wish there was And you say you're always tallest right before the fall And you're standing on your ladder but you just looks small


When we last left our hero, just over a year ago, he had released a collection of songs focussed on the concept of "Leaving Town". This time round things are a bit more settled and feature a smörgåsbord of ideas including the weather, board games and political assassinations.

"Is that the rain on" opens with the deceptively simple "Hours away from rain", and gently leads the listener through to songs like "Three names" and “Matchmaker” and "Letter in the drawer", which are as deep as anything previously released by Jack James. The important difference here is the control, everything is precision, the delivery is powerful, unrestrained yet calming, and additional instrumentation is well-harnessed. This is the 4th album in as many years from the Glasgow songwriter and while the musical growth is obvious, the biggest wildcard is the experimental aspects, both essential and potentially alienating at once.

This includes, completely new to the repertoire, four instrumental pieces woven throughout the album, which comprise of banjo and piano solos. The recording of these instruments, as well as the vocals and guitar on all the tracks, were all executed in a single uninterrupted take, giving a live feeling to the performances. The album is steeped in mood and such aesthetic choices are critical to setting the scene, similar to the effects of the rain mentioned in the title. The instrumentation used is not simply a gimmick, many songs that feature the banjo, or for the first time the accordion, are integral to the melody. The result of which leaves the album stylistically somewhere between The Decemberists and Damien Jurado; if that sounds interesting, this album is certainly worth your time.


released February 10, 2013

Written: July 2010 – November 2012
Recorded: 18th November – 21st December 2012
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

All songs written and recorded by Jack James

Jack James - Vocal, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Piano, Accordion, Violin, Noise
Gavin Crawford - Percussion




Jack James Glasgow

Rangy songwriter.

“From Neil Young... by way of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, to Arab Strap, without the charming vulgarity”
-The Herald

"Sounding more like a Scottish Leonard Cohen than ever"
-Scots Whay Hae

"Jack James may be doomed"
-The List
... more

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