James Morrison has been surprisingly quiet in recent years for a man with three platinum albums behind him. Having been easily confused with James Blunt when he started out, despite a far beefier voice, the current pop climate is more fertile for a solo man with mighty pipes. Sam Smith albums are selling as though ownership is a legal requirement, John Newman has taken similarly raspy tones to the top of the charts, and another James, Bay, has all but nicked his everyman soulfulness.
The BRITs Best Male of 2007 begins his comeback this month with three small London shows, generous with new material from an autumn fourth album. He had the energy of a freed convict, having been hidden away in the countryside writing. “It is so good to be back,” he said, neck veins bulging as he powered through new songs Stay Like This and Something Right.
Just Like a Child was a touching new one, inspired by his young daughter and performed alone. Otherwise a four-piece band and three backing singers provided a full sound, sometimes bland next to bolder soul men such as Paolo Nutini. Demons was the most impressive, adding high vocal samples to an uplifting chorus that modernised his retro tendencies.
He spoke of being confused for Chris Martin on the street, and still risks being overshadowed by larger personalities, but the climate is right for him to make a significant noise once more.