James Leclaire – Excited for the summer ahead, including his first Bluesfest appearance

June 27th, 2014 by  |  Published in Features, Interviews

James Leclaire - promo

2014 has been a good year for James Leclaire and things are only looking up. On July 3rd, he’ll be making his debut appearance at Ottawa Bluesfest. You can see him perform in the Barney Danson Theatre at 6pm. He’ll be joined by his band, the Cable 22’s.

When asked about performing indoors, as opposed to one of the outside stages where most of the action is, James was positive about the opportunity. “Whether it’s raining or 40 degrees, it doesn’t really matter,” he said. “The sound quality is great in the theatre and you know the people inside are there to see you. I also get a full hour to play versus the 45 minutes I might get outside. It’s also great that they don’t book the locals against any of the major acts. You can show up early and take in the local stuff.”

James’ performance will feature many songs off his latest release Of What Is Left. The album was just released on June 10th. He celebrated with a launch at The Branch in Kemptville, a venue growing a reputation for it’s combination of great food and music. “We played to a packed house. It was a great evening.”

Of What Is Left was recorded by Matt Ouimet. The album is an eclectic mix of songs, from soulful numbers to more energetic foot stompers featuring the Cable 22’s (longtime friends Michael Hunter and Chris McLean).

A bit of a departure from his previous solo efforts, one constant from start to finish are James’ deep, raspy vocals. “It’s still my songs, but once I get together with the band, things sometimes get extended or shortened. The tempo can change too when we all start playing it.”

Another exciting performance will take place on August 16th. James was asked to be a part of the Official Opening of Lansdowne Park, featuring the new TD Place Stadium. “I’ll be one of 2 acts to perform. I got the call one day. Someone saw my show and heard the album and recommended me.”

The city is expecting upwards of 10,000 people to take in the opening. When I asked about stage fright, James was quick to answer, “I’ve always been comfortable on stage. I’ve never been phased by performing,” and jokingly added “I find it more intimidating singing into a mic where I can’t see anyone.”

For the first time, James will have vinyl available in time for his appearance at Bluesfest. “I’m getting 100 copies pressed. I’m hoping they’ll clear out between the Bluesfest and Lansdowne shows. It’s much more expensive than cds in terms of manufacturing, but many people are back into collecting vinyl again and you get a digital download with it.”

For James Leclaire, 2014 is definitely shaping up to be a summer to remember.

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