As the media pushes its picture of a world sunk in consumption, all too often artists fall into the role of mediators for the sale. This is nothing new, the roots of popular blues, jazz and country music spend some time in the muddy waters of the traveling Medicine Shows, and artists have always been called upon to provide the motivation for the populace to interact with their controlling interests. What has changed is the technology that makes this possible, and the reach these messages are able to achieve.
Within this there is still the subtle relationship that exists between the true artist and their art. For all of the throwaways created with the speed of today’s mass culture there are still those who spend time with the more delicate aspects of their craft. James Blackshaw has emerged as a guitarist of considerable dexterity and intimacy; coming from punk rock roots he has turned his musical aptitude towards longer, more meditative modes with great success.
Thinking about what is necessary to bring the power of art into the creation of a more sustainable society we must come to understand the craftsmanship that underlies true expression. Blackshaw is part of a growing circle of artists whose appreciation for this relationship is bringing a brighter light to the creative scene and providing hope that the darkness on the horizon can give way to the sublimity of a well played song.