James Grant’s music career began in 1982 as songwriter and guitarist in Friends Again, alongside Chris Thomson, later of The Bathers. The group had minor hit singles with “State of Art”, “Sunkissed” and “Honey at the Core”. They released a self-titled EP in 1983 and then recorded their debut album, Trapped & Unwrapped, in 1984.
When Friends Again split in 1985, Grant went on to form Love and Money along with drummer Stuart Kerr and keyboardist Paul McGeechan. In their nine years together they recorded four moderately successful albums, All You Need Is, Strange Kind Of Love, Dogs In The Traffic, and littledeath.
Grant’s first solo album, Sawdust in My Veins, was released on Survival Records in 1998. It featured long term collaborator Donald Shaw, Karen Matheson, harmonica player Fraser Speirs, drummer James MacKintosh and the BT Scottish Ensemble. After a label change to Vertical, the same lineup was retained for My Thrawn Glory in 2000.
I Shot The Albatross, a collection of poetry set to music, was released in 2002. It included interpretations of works by Edwin Morgan, EE Cummings, and William Blake. The gentle, introspective Holy Love, followed in 2004, featuring contributions by dobro player Jerry Douglas and ex-Thrum vocalist Monica Queen. Strange Flowers, a more upbeat collection, was released in February 2009
Grant also scored the film The Near Room and has collaborated with Capercaillie’s Karen Matheson, performing live and writing songs for her solo records The Dreaming Sea, Downriver, and Time To Fall.
Love and Money reformed for a show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as part of Celtic Connections 2011; this was intended to be a one-off but was very successful and the band subsequently decided to tour the UK. Following this the band released their fifth studio album ‘The Devil’s Debt’ in 2012. A limited edition live album of their Royal Concert Hall show, ‘Strange Kind Of Love’ was also released.
In conversation with radio presenter Billy Sloan on BBC Scotland’s Music Through Midnight show on 5 June 2015, Grant revealed he was writing material and suggested it was more likely to be for a solo album than another Love & Money project.
James Grant is another of the many largely unheralded Scottish musicians who really should have a worldwide following. He’s a ridiculously talented guitarist, and while I’ve not always fallen deeply for some of his post-Friends Again material, almost all of his albums have had something worthy and of note.
He’s still very active on the live front, and upcoming shows in 2019 include London on 2 May, followed by some Scottish shows later in the month.
This is from Sawdust In My Veins, his solo album from 1998 – it was also released as a single:-