FM guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick is gearing up for the release of his second solo album; ‘Ballad of a Prodigal Son’, more of a rock-driven album than his 2006 debut ‘Changed Priorities’. Jim was gracious enough to answer some questions fired at him over the good old interweb, read his thoughts below…
DGM: The sophomore solo album, ‘Ballad of a Prodigal Son’, comes quite a while after your debut. How long have you had the songs brewing for? And how quickly did the album come together once you decided to go for it?
JK: A few have been knocking around for a long time, but the bulk of the album was recorded over the last two years in between touring and recording with FM.
DGM: When you went into the studio to record the album, was there a cast-iron plan to what you felt the album should sound like, or were there any ‘right-here-right-now’ moments?
JK: I had a rough idea as to how the album should sound, but some bits were definitely ‘off the cuff’.
DGM: You recruited quite a list of contributors on the album with you, including John ‘Rhino’ Edwards (Status Quo), Steve Overland (FM), and Bernie Marsden. Was it difficult fitting in everyone’s schedules? Didge Digital is even on there!
JK: Not really. A lot of those bits were done remotely. It was great to get Didge on the record.
DGM: There is a great deal of variety on the album; something for everyone, including a beautiful Allman Brothers-esque instrumental: ‘Blue Heron Boulevard’. How structured was this one, or was it quite loose and improvised?
JK: That was all written in my head prior to recording. Blue Heron Boulevard is a place in Florida where I used to stay. I wanted to do something in the style of the Allmans as I’m a huge fan.
DGM: With its use of horns, ‘Always On The Road’ is another favourite. How did this particular one come together? And a Bernie Mardsen co-write I believe?
JK: I wrote it with Bernie as a song to present to Joe Bonnamassa. That didn’t happen so I kept it for myself. My good friend Scott Ralph played all the horns on it. He’s a very clever guy and does horn arrangements for lots of pop records.
DGM: When you played the album back for the first time, what moment gave you the biggest goosebumps?!
JK: I’ve lots of favourites, but ‘All You Need (Is All You Have)’ did it for me. I didn’t expect it to turn out so well!
DGM: I have to ask… what is ’61 & 49′?!
JK: The crossroads where highways 61 and 49 meet in Clarkesdale are reputedly where Robert Johnson made his pact with the Devil. I thought rather than cover a Robert Johnson song I’d write one about him.
DGM: You’re known primarily as a guitar player, so would you consider yourself a guitarist that also sings or a singer who also plays the guitar?
JK: A guitarist who sings but hopefully people will accept me as both.
DGM: What was the light bulb moment that made you decide to learn the guitar?
JK: I’ve always wanted to play. Even as a little kid.
DGM: Was it easy to make the transition from playing in the background to taking centre stage? There’s nowhere to hide front and centre!
JK: I’ve done hundreds, maybe thousands, of gigs over the years where I’ve been the singer so it’s no problem.
DGM: Who would you class as the ultimate underrated guitarist?
JK: Probably someone like Robbie McIntosh.
DGM: In your opinion, what makes a song memorable?
JK: A great hook.
DGM: If all music is subject to individual taste, does that mean there is no such thing as a “guilty pleasure” when it comes to music?
JK: Ha… there’s probably some music that we don’t all readily own up to liking. I think ‘My Love’ by Wings is an amazing song.
DGM: What do you have planned for the remainder of the longest year in history?!
JK: Not a lot! Writing and recording mainly.
‘Ballad of a Prodigal Son’ is available September 4th, pre-order information here.