James Baxter

James Baxter - Auto Erotic

A darkness has set in for Southampton's James Baxter. Themes of ageing and helplessness have swamped this talented song writer, a muse which bodes for a bitter listen.

Travelling and long summers breed endless dreams when you're young. When these fade to reality and work, it can be an all consuming time. For Baxter, escapism appears to have long past. When Scroobious Pip rapped “just a band”, the reality of natural born talent was exposed as a myth. A myth which, Baxter appeared to believed in himself until a ruthless moment of self-reflection:

“In essence I am just as fucking useless / I've realised that's no one's special no ones different / We're just bags of fat and bone and sinew”

A bleak affair yes, but the promise in this honest song writing breeds hope for Baxter and, in these bleak times, its an apt tonic.

James Baxter: The Water Rats, London

The world doesn’t need any more young men with acoustic guitars being nice. Thankfully, James Baxter is taking a leaf out of Tom Williams’ book. With a wry and acerbic wit, he took to the Water Rats stage on Tuesday evening.

Baxter’s songs, especially when accompanied by his guitarist and keyboardist, adopt Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies but with a sense of brooding rather than love. 

Ironically, the brightest thing Baxter displays is his darkness. There is a bitterness to his observations about social media and politics that brings the aforementioned Williams and the early days of Frank Turner to mind.

Similarly to the godlike Billy Bragg, he combines social politics with his personal life. It’s this combination which could make Baxter a staple of many record collections in years to come.