An Interview With James Gagne
A single release from James Gagne brings a warm and lush tone to a classic track and does it with a clear love for the original along with enough heart to feel it come through with every note.
As far as cover songs go, it seems like you have to be able to walk a certain line to be able to pull them off properly and James does this with perfect balance so that you know there's meaning behind him covering this release.
This is a cover of "Last Worthless Evening" only by Don Henley and James is able to keep the vibe that the original had strong, but also bring his own feel to it to give something that's refreshing but still impactful and colorful.
This song has a way of floating and flowing in a particular manner and the guitars and the tones of those guitars are a really important element to that flow.
The track has a way of wrapping itself around you and keeping it right where it wants to which is wonderful because it gets your full attention.
He also puts a lot of passion behind the delivery vocally, especially during the choruses which is quite a wonderful buildup as well.
The thing about doing a cover song like this is you have to be able to perform it in your own way while still giving the understanding that it is an ode to the original song and James pulled this off without a hitch.
This release has amazing character to it, and you can tell that there was a lot of attention to detail during the recording of this track, but it never loses that Soul which I think is the most important part of it all.
I love songs that you can actually feel something from but what's more, is that I love a good cover of a song that is done with a unique style and still manages to keep that pop sensibility.
Now, if you're not familiar with James Gagne, then I think this is a good time to start going there because he's got some great covers and originals but also a band that he writes and performs with called Shipyard Wreck which shows a little bit of a different side to the songwriting.
All in all, this was a beautifully performed single that was done in a full-bodied and graceful manner with just the right amount of maturity and emotion to have it be meaningful just the way the original was.
You pay attention to what he's saying, and I think this is great, especially for not just an older audience but a younger audience as well who perhaps have never heard the original song.
With the release of such a wonderfully woven single cover, we wanted to have a sit-down with James to find out what inspired him to actually do this and what might be next for the artist.
Here's what happened.
Buzz Slayers: Okay James, let's start with "Last Worthless Evening''! This song has a refreshing feel to the original! What inspired you to cover this one?
I love Don Henley's voice and music as well as The Eagles. I have been going through a lot of heartbreak, loss, pain, suffering and chaos over the last 5 years. I started singing this one at karoake one night and said this would be the perfect song to put on my cover album. I still have to finish it as I only have 3 or 4 cover songs recorded so far. How did this all start for you as an artist? When did you fall in love with music?From a young age my mom sang country / gospel, dad was in a barbershop quartet, aunt sang country / gospel, uncle in a rock band as a singer drummer, and the Fairhaven music program in our education system (back before they were all just brainwashing institutions) was actually top notch and allowed me many opportunities to sing with various choruses, competitions as well as play tuba / sousaphone and eventually teaching myself the guitar at 15. Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire songs for you?
I love the tune and melody obviously, but it has to connect with the words. I feel singing is my release of all the pain and built up emotions so the words connected to heavy feelings is inspirational in itself. Buzz Slayers: This single has some great performances on both guitar and vocally! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?
Elton John, Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Martin Sexton, John Mayer, Jimmy Buffett, Steely Dan, Michael McDonald... I can go on forever. I have no clue. LOL Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
I am an IT professional by myself for about 60 local companies doing everything from hardware to software to marketing to photography to videography to POS systems, networks, wifi, GPS, the list doesn't end on this one either. Buzz Slayers: Who's in your headphones right now?
Goose, Chris Stapleton, System of a Down, John Mayer Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?
I am just getting back into it again. I just bought the greatest guitar I ever bought (Taylor 814ce) and a brand new ElectroVoice M50 PA system. I broke my wrist falling off a roof about 4 years ago and now have taught myself a little piano in the interim and have learned to play with a broken wrist somehow. I also got hit by a truck on my motorcycle and had some other unfortunate events, but the future is bright and music saves souls. Buzz Slayers: Did you record yourself or hit a big studio for this?
I recorded this song with an amazing producer and musician Jon Evans, who is the bassist for Tori Amos and Sarah McGloughlin and Chris Cornell and lives in MA luckily. His studio Brick Hill is amazing. Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?
I want to release a few more albums of original music and have been writing for years now. I just need to find the time to do it and get away from my IT work, but that is what makes the money unfortunately. The music world is a disaster financially. I don't know how it can possibly sustain itself. They ruined the industry and now we must let it burn to the ground to rebuild better next time. Maybe that is just the inner Viking in me speaking, but it is time that we filter out the crap "music" just like spam filters do emails and such. There is way too much much garbage out there from reputable "artists" and not enough from the real artists who can't afford to record their music because recording real instruments takes talent, skill, time, excellent gear and knowledgeable engineers / producers which costs money and then revolving door spins... Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
ROCK AND FUCKING ROLL! Help promote the artists you like by spreading their Spotify and other streaming links. Streaming an artist 100 times is way better than selling the track once. The market and industry is fucked up and weird but if true music lovers can grasp the concept of what pushes money around then maybe we can push the shit music out and let the good flourish. This is the problem. They don't want to let us know their algorithms. Seems to be a pure case of the tech wins over true art.