The release and international success of James McCartney's debut EP, Available Light, introduced a talented singer-songwriter and his music to the world. Now, James McCartney embarks on the second phase of that introduction with Available Light's counterpart: Close At Hand.
"There is only one thing to do with high expectations, and that is meet them," says McCartney. "I wanted to follow Available Light with something that showed a progression . . . that had an even deeper meaning, both spiritually and musically."
From the first moments of Close At Hand, that progression is crystal clear. Above driving guitar lines McCartney asks, 'Are you receiving what you’re believing / Are you sure just what you are,' in the EP's opening track, "I Only Want To Be Alone." The powerful vulnerability of "Wings Of A Lightest Weight" is the expression of a son's feelings of love for his mother ('Watching you fly away / Whilst your wings of a lightest weight / Carry you back through the heat of the wind / Carry you back to me').
12-string-guitar arpeggios reminiscent of his song "Glisten" from Available Light return for the uplifting song "The Sound Of My Voice," where McCartney states, 'Of all the words that I know / Love is still the best.' The playfully esoteric "Else And Else But Dead" is followed by an emotional tour de force, "Jesus Be My Friend," where McCartney plumbs the depths of his own convictions ('Boulder in a stream / Water on a stone / God is close at hand / You never understood / Just who I really was / Just who I really am'). "Fallen Angel" provides a hopeful dawn after this dark night of the soul, while also bookending the twin EPs and the opening track "Angel" from Available Light ('Every night I thank the heavens up above / You taught me how to fall in love / You taught me to live').
In addition to singing, McCartney once again plays most of the instruments on Close At Hand, including bass, guitars, and piano. It was recorded in Sussex, London, and New York City, and was produced by David Kahne and Paul McCartney.
"Some artists are happy doing the same thing again and again, but my favorite artists are the ones who evolve and grow, and I want to be one of them." With Close At Hand, James McCartney has dared to raise the stakes, and in doing so he's succeeded in filling some very big shoes . . . his own.