Sawdust In My Veins Reviews

Q--April, 1998
James Grant, Sawdust In My Veins

(Survival) SUR CD022
First solo album from former Friends Again and Love & Money guitarist/singer.

Even with all the kindling to hand (looks, voice and songs), Grant's career never quite caught fire. Friends Again were the unsung gems of the early 80's Caledonian scene whilst Love & Money never found a niche for their suavity. Lovers of craft, however, will delight in this, with its elegant memories, and seductive chord changes. The arrangements are excellent too: Grant's splendid voice and guitar are foreground against subtle strings and unobtrusive backing.
And, the non descript closer aside, the material's strong. The title track is marvellously gloomy and cool - Morrissey meets Jim Webb - whilst "I Don't Know You Anymore" is the kind of song George Michael aspires to, sometimes unsuccessfully.
Grant's pop star chances may have evaporated, but it's a callous world if that blinds us to these fine songs.

Q Rating: ****(out of 5). Reviewed By: Stuart Maconie.
Like this ? Try these......

Friends Again - Trapped & Unwrapped MERCURY 1984
Love & Money - All You Need Is FONTANA 1986
George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 EPIC 1990

Mojo--May, 1998
James Grant, Sawdust In My Veins

Acoustic-led solo debut from the former Love And Money kingpin, Capercaillie's Karen Matheson guests.

When you consider some of the Glasgow bands that came to the fore in the '80's - Deacon Blue, Wet Wet Wet - how sad it was to see the superior talent of James Grant slip through the corporate cracks: Grant always wrote from a different place, eloquently poking at raw nerves or crooning bittersweet love songs whose lambency was too subtle for the Top 10. His solo debut finds his songwriting at its zenith, his Scott Walker-deep voice matured to perfection, and his guitar playing as tasteful as ever. Perhaps the production's a little dated in places, but fans will love this record. "No Chicane" sounds like a long-lost country classic, while the slightly sinister title track seems to float just below the level of consciousness. Best of all, though, is "I Don't Know You," an almost Portishead-like ballad in which Grant delivers the vocal performance of his career.

James McNair

Rolling Stone, German Edition--December, 1998
James Grant, Sawdust In My Veins

James Grant started his musical career in the early '80s with Chris Thompson (The Bathers) and his band Friends Again. He contributed to the preservation and progression of Scottish pop music with the band Love And Rockets (sic!), which he disbanded in 1994. The singer/songwriter is back with an impressive solo debut Sawdust In My Veins (Survival/RTD).
If you like to stroll through small towns on rainy melancholy days you will be served by Grant with Folk, Soul and his Scottish charm. Only Dr Robert does it better.

Review: Huettmann and Borcholte. [Kindly translated for this site by Rainer Knauer]

Rainsound Online
James Grant, Sawdust In My Veins

"There's a light in me that's keeping hope alive," sang James Grant on the last Love and Money record. Five years on, one more flop, and on the first track of his solo debut he sings, "I'm not sure what hurts me more: / The fact that I've lost my guiding light / Or finding out it wasn't all that bright."
And, mind you, from there on it's all downhill, a walk down misery lane. Titles like like "I Can't Stop Bleeding," "I Don't Know You Anymore" (meaning "I don't love you anymore"), "If You Love Me Leave Me Alone" and "This Is The Last Time" are more than eloquent. Oh yes, there actually is one languorously tender song where beauty (physical, I presume) is seen as a possible cure for life, but the lyrics are in the past tense, and he's just using the past to exorcise the past - the present has nothing to offer him.
So, did we really need another terminally sadcore, end-of-the-line record, another Bob Mould's Workbook, another Robert Smith's Disintegration, another Mark Eitzel story of personal loss and defeat? The answer is: YEEESSSS!!! We fucking need that stuff!
Well, at least I do for one, and if you've ever been there, you can't help being sucked into Sawdust In My Veins. In terms of songwriting and performing, this album is the culmination of James Grant's career. Donald Shaw is an ace producer, Kevin McCrae's strings are magnificent and everything's so appropriate, it risks being AOR. It is not, because Grant means every word he sings and every note he plays, and even the funky slickness of some of the playing, a reminder of Love and Money cynicism, has its meaning here. Grant's vocals are always tense, soulful and sexy, his playing impeccably tainted by the blues, powerful and restrained like smouldering ashes - the guitar lick on "Hide" burns like the devil himself forged it.
Although he doesn't play with any kind of self image, it's easy to picture Grant as some kind of black rider, a solitary hero wrestling with his own demons. He's always had a streak of psychobilly about him, and when he sings "Out in the rain with my spats and my cane," you start thinking about some deranged hallelujah man stalking around in the Glasgow night. However, on the last track, a bitter country ballad, Grant declares, "I'm not bored or restless, and I'm not going mad," and we believe him. "If you love me / Walk away / You can break my heart some other day," is the parting shot. You gotta laugh.

--Marco Sangiacomo (review reprinted here courtesy of Rainsound Online)

www. --Date Unknown
James Grant, Sawdust In My Veins

NOTE: This review was translated from German via Alta Vista's web translation service; I have not made any effort to change the severly broken English that follows.
After almost four years old work break James Grant presents its solo debut. a very personal and sensitive Folkpop album, which was produced by Donald Shaw (Capercaillie). Grant had created, dedicated themselves, solve the tape Friends Again in the early 80's as well as Chris Thompson (The Bathers) starting from 1983 exclusively to the extremely successful tape project Love and Money it 1994 up, in order to redefine itself and its music. Click here to go to Archive page.
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