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James Blunt muscled up sound for latest album

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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It’s safe to say that nobody has considered James Blunt a rock artist up to this point. But with his third album, “Some Kind of Trouble,” the British singer, songwriter and army veteran stakes a claim to be more than just the guy who can do more than trill his 2005 smash “You’re Beautiful.”

“You know, when I joined the army, I took an acoustic guitar with me because it was easier to travel with than carrying my electric and my amp — there was nowhere to plug in the amp in the tank,” explains Blunt, 37, who served in Kosovo and also in the Light Guard cavalry division in London. “And a result of that I wrote more melancholic songs.

“So this time it was slightly different. I found myself in a London studio with (co-producer) Steve Robson, and I picked up an electric at our first meeting and wrote this very upbeat, electric song called ‘Dangerous.’ And I said, ‘You know what, this is exactly what I wanted. So rather than the troubadour, rather than the guy with the acoustic guitar, I’m really fronting a band now and writing songs in that vein, with all these electric instruments, which is a lot of fun.”

Change, of course, has its risks. After a double-platinum showing for his 2004 debut “Back to Bedlam” and Top 10 spots for his first two albums, “Some Kind of Trouble” reached No. 11 on the Billboard 200 while the single, “Stay the Night,” barely made it into the Hot 100 chart. But Blunt is capable of finding a silver lining amid all this.

“The American market to me is a strange one,” he says. “I play to 10,000 people every night around the rest of the world, and I’ll be playing to a third of that in the States. But it’s an interesting game and I enjoy it, and I love my visits there. I do enjoy the intensity of those smaller crowds, and I prefer that change rather than just repeating myself over and over.”

James Blunt and Christina Perri perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, at the Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $25-45. Call 734-668-8397 or visit www.michtheater.org.

Web Site: www.michtheater.org

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