5 Questions: Musician James Elkington

James Elkington | Photo credit: Zoran Orlic

James Elkington is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player, born and bred in the south of England but now living and working in Chicago.  Elkington has spent the last decade playing guitar with the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Tortoise, and Richard Thompson, and has produced albums for Steve Gunn and Joan Shelley.  In 2017 he released his debut solo album, Wintres Woma, on the Paradise of Bachelors label, and is vaguely planning on releasing another one next year.

You can keep track of James at his website.

1. What’s been keeping you up at night?
Just recently its been nothing. I’m getting older and by the time I get to bed I’m pretty tired these days. My wife is going to have a baby in the next few weeks and it occurred to me that when this kid is 12 I’ll be 60, which seems objectively too old to be the dad of a 12-year-old, so if you want to talk about things that have been worrying me, that’s one right there, ha!

2. What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or heard lately?

In the late 60’s the film composer Ennio Morricone was part of a collective called Gruppo D’Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (my spellcheck just exploded) and their Niente album was just re-released on vinyl, so I’ve been spending a lot of time with that. I also keep coming back to a record called ‘Sounds Of The City’ by Maria Teresa Luciani from a place and time – its arguably not music in that traditional sense, but more like a collage of cityscape sounds that has a strangely pacifying effect on my brain.

3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
I’m currently helping a band called Nap Eyes make a record, which I think is going to be great. I also got to be an extra member of Tortoise to play their TNT album a couple of times this year, and it’s been amazing to be playing some of my favorite music with one of my favorite bands ever. If everything goes according to plan we’ll be playing those songs in Japan next year.

4. If you could add anyone, alive or dead to your team, who would it be?

I wish Bert Jansch lived around the corner. I still have so much to learn from him as a guitar player, but by his own account he a was quite a talented gardener, and I could use even more help in that department.

5. When the movie of your life is made, what will it be called?
My running list for memoir titles currently includes ‘Sit Down, You Fool’, ‘Poor Old Jim’ and ‘Where Hides My Marmite?’, so it’ll probably be one of those.