‘Dead Man Walking’ is the eagerly awaited, brand-new album from Cheshire songwriter, vocalist and guitar slinger Jim Kirkpatrick. A 10-track tour de force that showcases Jim’s multiple talents in rock, blues and Americana, even adding a touch of gospel into the mix, expanding his range and reaching into new musical territory. He has had quite the musical journey to this point and I was excited to talk to him about this latest offering.
I wondered if you could tell me when you first knew that you wanted to be a musician?
I’ve always been into into music. At the age of seven, I’d have headphones on all the time. There was albums that I liked, I had favourite albums, which were probably my parents. Towards the end of primary school, I’d be buying my own records, and stuff. I always had an interest in the guitar. Right at the beginning of secondary school, I knew I wanted to play the guitar, I was about 12 years old. That’s when the real music obsession sort of began. So probably about then I would say, I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do.
When you were growing up, what kind of music did your family play to you and what are you choosing to listen to now?
My dad was a massive country music fan, which I thought was dreadful as a child. I just didn’t get it at all. He loved country music, Elvis Presley, and he liked all the crooners like Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and stuff like that. My mum liked Cliff Richard. But both my parents liked Queen, so that was probably the first thing I got from my parents that I really liked. I probably got into all the usual sort of pop stuff that you do when you’re that age. I loved Michael Jackson and I love Madonna and then it becomes a bit of a journey, you look who your influences were influenced by.
You’ve been on quite an eclectic musical journey, the different projects that you’ve been involved in and I was wondering how that journey has influenced your current solo project, in particular, this new album?
I’ve always struggled a little bit with being pigeon holed into something. I don’t mean that in a pretentious way, but I can put some death metal on and really enjoy it and I can put Frank Sinatra on and really enjoy it. I love the Beatles, Jerry Reed is one of my favourite artists of all time. So I’ve always struggled with exactly what I wanted to play, I think because I just love music. I’ve been lucky, I’ve worked with blues artists, country artists, I’ve worked in rock and stuff like that. So it’s been pretty cool, to be honest with you. When it comes to the album I’ve got now, ‘Dead Man Walking’, it’s probably got the elements of my favourite two or three sort of things, there’s rock in there, there’s blues in there and there’s Americana in there.
Can you tell me the story behind ‘Union Train’ please?
I’d come up with the, the music to it and it had that that certain kind of very Americana feel to it. I wanted to do something a little bit like Copperhead Road. I really struggled to get a lyric and a title for it. I was chatting away to John Edwards from Status Quo who is a really good friend of mine. He said it had a civil war feel to it. I was in a rush to finish it because the rest of the album was finished. He had this idea, he said “Do you know what a minute man is?” I said I didn’t. He said, “Apparently, during the American Civil War, there were people who would be called at the last minute to go to war, they’d have to drop everything in a minute and I think you should call it Minute Man.” I wasn’t so sure but it did get me researching the civil war and I came upon this story, some Union forces hijacked a train from Georgia to Chattanooga, where they were going to burn the town down and then some of the Confederate forces, they took another train and chased after them with it. It sounds like quite an exciting train chase, really.
What’s been your proudest moment so far in your career?
I think playing the Royal Albert Hall is definitely up there. I’ve done some really, quite out there things. I did a movie premiere with Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin years ago, which was just mental. The craziest day ever. I guess by the time this goes to press, this will be common knowledge, I’m going to be playing guitar for Sari Schorr actually on Kiefer Sutherland’s tour in July, which how on earth did that boy from Cheshire, UK end up doing a tour with Kiefer Sutherland? So there’s a few things like that, that are just really crazy things that have come out of nowhere.
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