McCartney, the youngest child and only son of Paul and Linda McCartney, was born in 1977 during the waning years of his dad’s mega successful band Wings.
While James McCartney shares his father’s gift for melody and his musical talent on guitar and piano, the younger McCartney has much more of a low key personality than his iconic parent, much like his older half-sister Heather, who prefers to stay out of the limelight completely.
In interviews James McCartney rarely talks of his famous family and comes across as much more reserved and reclusive then either of his parents.
Though he definitely has developed his own voice musically, McCartney’s uphill battle is the blazing limelight his father’s musical legacy casts over his career.
While no stranger to music, James McCartney was late in releasing music of his own, as his first music release didn’t occur until he was 33 years old.
Though McCartney did perform on some of his father’s music – most notably playing guitar on the song “Heaven on a Sunday” from Paul McCartney’s album “Flaming Pie” and co-composing and performing on the songs “Spinning On An Axis” and “Back In The Sunshine Again” from his dad’s album “Driving Rain” – James McCartney has until recently avoided stepping out on his own musically.
In 2010, McCartney finally released the first collection of his own music on a digital EP entitled “Available Light,” followed closely by another digital EP called “Close at Hand” in 2011. A physical CD release later that year called “The Complete EP Collection” combined both digital releases while adding new songs.
McCartney’s first full album, “Me,” was released on CD in 2013 and was met with good reviews. That year McCartney also toured the U.S. in a series of low-key shows in clubs and bars, which he is repeating this year with the release of his new album, The Blackberry Train.”
McCartney’s music is very textured and melodic, and while his voice isn’t as expressive or as strong as his father’s, it certainly is effective and gives his music more of a singer-songwriter feel.
His EPs and first album stayed more in the pop/rock vein, while “The Blackberry Train” adds more of an experimental and electronica feel while still sounding very accessible and melodic.
It’s obvious the Beatles music has influenced McCartney, but he also incorporates lots of other genres of music in his work, and his love of alternative rock crops up over and over again, especially on “The Blackberry Train.”
Though not wanting to be compared to his father Paul McCartney is certainly understandable, the elder McCartney has been very involved in James’ music throughout his career.
James McCartney has used David Kahne, whom he met while working with his father on his “Driving Rain” album, as producer of his digital EPs and first album, and Paul McCartney has produced and played on songs James has recorded.
On “The Blackberry Train,” McCartney also keeps things in the Beatle family so to speak by having Dhani Harrison, son of the late George Harrison, play guitar on the album, and he partially recorded the album in his dad’s home studio in England.
For those who want to venture out to see him live at the Brass Rail, McCartney will perform a good chunk of his new album as well as some of his earlier music.
This tour shows McCartney in an intimate light with just him on both electric or acoustic guitar and no backup band performing with him.
McCartney sort of bares it all emotionally in a stripped down setting that focuses on his songs without the aid of production techniques, giving his music an even more personal feel than his recordings.
McCartney’s concert appearances showcase his music on its own, effectively highlighting his talent in the most direct way possible.
For any Beatles fans curious to see the son of a living legend or anyone else who may just enjoy melodic pop/rock music, the show at the Brass Rail is the perfect way to be introduced to McCartney’s music.
More InformationSon of a legend
WHAT: James McCartney live in concert
WHEN: 8 p.m. June 23
WHERE: The Brass Rail, 1121 Broadway
COST: $12. For more information call The Brass Rail at 267-5303 or buy tickets online at
To sample some of James McCartney’s music:
• “Unicorn” from “The Blackberry Train”:
• “Waterfall” from “the Blackberry Train”: