EWR3–James William HindleJoshong! – Reviews


Plan B Magazine

A little like Devendra’s ‘Oh Me Oh My…’, this half-hour mini-album of 11-tracks – all but one of them between one and three minutes long – has the feel of a diary filled tentatively with fragments, sketches, notes-to-self, recorded at home, with the curtains drawn, complete with the whirr of tape-heads and the click of the on-off button. With acoustic guitar, banjo, harp, accordion and chimes Hindle produces a hushed bedroom-folk, creating tiny, self-contained worlds of bucolic finger-picking, melancholic micro-ballads and bluegrass Bagpuss banjo. Best of all, though, is eight-minute instrumental ‘Joshong Pt.2’, which sounds like a drone-version of The Doors’ ‘The End’ with John Fahey sitting in for Jim Morrison


Robots and Electronic Brains Zine

There's a descending run - you could hardly call it a riff - on 1983, the second track here, plucked out on a banjo that's magical. The only other sounds are a tinkling noise, some stretched aaaaahhhs and a one-two bass, maybe on the same banjo. And James William Hindle singing. It must be late at night. It's definitely a time for reflection. He's probably alone. He probably doesn't want to be. And he shouldn't be. This is another beautiful folk record from Early Winter, limited to 250 hand-made copies.



You’re looking flustered. You seem to be having doubts about that acoustic singer/songwriter that you’ve recently discovered. You think he/she might be harbouring M.O.R. tendencies (shriek!!) and it’s getting on top of you. Well, it’s time to act quickly before you become the object of derision amongst your friends and family. In response to this problem, I have devised a simple two-part test to help you through these times of gnawing self-doubt and sleepless nights.


(a) Are his/her releases filed within close proximity to creatures such as Kate Melua and James Blunt?  Yes/No


(b) Has he/she performed on the ‘Parkinson’ chat-show? Yes/No


If the answer to both of these questions is in the affirmative, then the artist under scrutiny is undoubtedly a prize wet lettuce of rheumy-eyed wimpery with precious little self-esteem. BUT! All is not lost. Simply take the contaminated produce to either the nearest landfill site or, better still, your local charity shop. Feeling better? Good. I know what can fill that recently vacated gap in your CD collection: James William Hindle, a nouveau folk/pop balladist with several well-received albums on Badman Records (of San Francisco) and Track & Field back in blighty. His latest CD ‘Joshong’ is an eleven tracker comprised of home recordings made in the UK and the States, from 2003 to 2005. Using acoustics, banjos, harp, percussion, sparse fx and occasional vocals, the atmosphere is one of relaxed intimacy (plumped up cushions and a glowing coal fire) in short capsule form pieces – perhaps some of which might be seen as sounding boards for future expansion?


They fascinate from the start – part one of the title track, a banjo instrumental with echoes of Clive Palmer’s legendary ‘Banjoland’ set (now out on Sunbeam) makes way for the utterly beautiful ‘1983’, no relation to the ‘Electric Ladyland’ cut. With its celestial harp and choir (samples?) it’s as if Duncan Browne (he of the majestic ‘Give me, Take You’ LP) has revisited the earth to briefly possess the soul of a willing disciple. Oh, my....


Joshong Pt 2’, at eight minutes the longest track on here, weighs curling watchspring notes on delicate Indian scales. A raga that floats a certain Robbie Krieger motif into the former John Clyde Evans’ loft space. There’s also some displays of supple fingerpicking in ‘Bleak House’ and ‘Happy Cat’, the latter’s rag structure transporting a Cheshire cat grin to the wilds of South Yorkshire. ‘Feral Children’ belies its rather serious social issue titling to reveal guest accordionist Jamie Crewe to be the perfect soulmate to James’ skipping-string patterns.


While we continually look overseas for blissful folk-based gorgeousness (Matt Valentine, In Gowan Ring, Basho Jungans etc), we seem to have an equally rewarding artist right here under our very noses. Investigate now. (Steve Pescott)