Meet British singer-songwriter James Bay, one of four newcomers tapped for WFUV and The Alternate Side's CMJ Music Marathon showcase, FUV Live at CMJ, which takes place on October 15 at Rockwood Music Hall from 5-9pm. Our lineup also includes Lucius, Claire and Saint Rich. The entire showcase will be broadcast live on 90.7FM WFUV, streaming online too.
At first glance, Bay resembles a young James Taylor; a rather serendipitous coincidence since the 22-year-old's influences include Taylor, Carole King, Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills & Nash. In the spirit of those artists and his awareness of English folk history, Bay's debut EP, The Dark Of The Morning, murmurs with pensive, acoustically-spun reveries, but there's also a muscular, sharp undertow to Bay's songwriting.
Watch the videos for Bay's "Need The Sun To Break," filmed in Greenwich Village, and "Move Together" below. He's currently in the midst of his first U.S. tour, opening for ZZ Ward.
WFUV caught up with James Bay over email and asked what he hopes to discover — mainly about himself as a musician — as he makes his way through his first multi-gig CMJ experience next week.
"Other new bands and artists are what I really want to discover!" Bay responded. "But for myself, good question. For me, so much of playing live is about the audience's reaction. So, I guess as always I want to discover more about my live show, based on how the crowd reacts. I'd also like to discover Angelo's Pizza on Broadway again, for about the seventh time this year."
Bay is also keen to see an assortment of other bands, like Half Moon Run. "I've been touring the US for the last six weeks," wrote Bay, "and their record Dark Eyes has basically been on repeat the entire time. I would love to see them live. Also, Diane Birch. I got her first record after I saw her live in London about four years ago. She was amazing live, and I've been waiting for a new instalment from her ever since. And Foy Vance. Haven't seen him live yet, and every time I hear a record of his, I regret this."
FUV Live at CMJ is free to the public (first come, first served) and doors open at Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen Street, at 4:30pm. Set times are subject to change, but the preliminary lineup is listed below.
FUV Live CMJ Showcase 2013:
5 p.m. - 5:40 p.m. EDT: Lucius
6 p.m. - 6:40 p.m. EDT: Saint Rich
7 p.m. - 7:40 p.m. EDT: James Bay
8 p.m. - 8:20 p.m. EDT: Claire
Funding for WFUV's ongoing coverage of live concerts and festivals comes from The Agnes Varis Trust, supporting affordable access to the arts, education and healthcare.