James Meadow, also known as Davide Falcone, describes himself as an “anthropologist singer-songwriter” seeking out that harmonious balance between music and ethnography. Following his single ‘The Imaginary Bond’, Italian artist Meadow recently released his eleven-track album A Scarecrow Sight. We spoke with this talented folk artist about the new album and more.
OSR: What can you tell us about your album A Scarecrow Sight?
Meadow: The inner essence of the album relies on an attempt to change my perspective, both in lyrics and music. On the one hand, in fact, I use reflexivity typical of an anthropological gaze to tell in verse some personal experiences. On the other hand, the implications of a new observation are also explored in the musical structure of the pieces.
The songs were born as acoustic pieces with only guitar and voice, but during the recording sessions with my producer and arranger Luca Perciballi, we took a different direction in search of new sound textures. A path we are continuing to explore. This is what I see behind the “Scarecrow Sight” of the title – basically, a quest for a new perspective.
OSR: How did you choose the tracks for A Scarecrow Sight and was it a difficult process?
Meadow: I actually had several tracks, but the selection was not so difficult. I think I was directed to the ones where I felt a greater maturity of writing. It was different for the choice of the final tracklist since some of the songs had definitely changed in their studio versions. In the end, we chose to give the album an organic character balancing the fullness of the more complex arrangements with other more bare and acoustic tracks.
OSR: If you could remove any of the tracks on the album, which one would it be?
Meadow: Well, I think it would be really difficult for me since I now recognise the record its identity with all the eleven tracks. If I could, I would like to record ‘Turbulence’ again replacing the piano notes with some melodic lines of a Wurlitzer.
OSR: How do you stay motivated to make music?
Meadow: I continue to see my way of composing as deeply linked to a process of learning, listening and discovery from which, at times, some new melodic cell arises on the guitar and eventually combines with words. Basically, I prefer to think of songwriting as an outcome of impregnation rather than motivation.
OSR: What is the most difficult element of recording and releasing an album?
Meadow: Since this is my debut album, every step has its own difficulties. The heavy burden I often feel is that of promotion which today seems to rely increasingly on the artist. The recording part was the most intense and creative moment of the whole process in which the difficulties faced were formative and stimulating.
OSR: Do you have an “all-time” favourite artist or album?
Meadow: Yes, Bruce Cockburn has always bee a point of reference for me. I appreciate the ethnographic character of several of his lyrics, his ability to open up new musical horizons from decade to decade and his brilliance and intelligence as a human being. He is for sure my “all-time” favourite.
OSR: Who was your teenage crush, if you had a teenage crush?
Meadow: I must admit that when I was fourteen I listened to Blink 182 and Bullet For My Valentine for a while to impress a girl I liked. They are clear memories that I tried to cover up, along with the long hair I had then…clearly without much success!
OSR: Can you recommend any bands for our readers?
Meadow: Drawing on my older CDs, I would certainly recommend Nothing But A Burning Light by Bruce Cockburn and Aerial Boundaries by Michael Hedges. Instead, from the more recent ones, Lily-O by Sam Amidon and Music Is by Bill Frisell.
OSR: Do you have a favourite item of clothing and what is it?
Meadow: The pair of leather shows I wear on the album cover were a gift from a dear friend. I think that’s the item I feel most attached to.
OSR: What does the future hold for James Meadow?
Meadow: Next year, hopefully, I will be on tour to present the new album and I’ll be releasing an EP with live versions of a bunch of songs. At the same time, I will continue the work on a new album that is taking shape.